Lolo Jones

Undeterred Lolo Jones’ outlook not good to make World Championships

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Lolo Jones confessed that her hope of qualifying for the World Championships “looks not good right now” on Saturday, but she’s been in this position before.

Jones, one of 10 Americans to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympics, finished fourth in the 100m hurdles at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York on Saturday, clocking 12.95 seconds.

That time won’t nearly be fast enough to make the U.S. team for August’s World Championships, which will be the top three finishers at the U.S. Championships in Eugene, Ore., next weekend, plus defending World champion Brianna Rollins, who has a bye into Worlds.

But consider where Jones is coming from. The 32-year-old hurdler/bobsledder underwent right shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in November and tore her left hamstring in April, pulling out of the Drake Relays.

On Saturday, Jones said she was in a wheelchair a month and a half ago.

“Doctors said I wouldn’t even have a shot to even run before USAs,” Jones said. “I’m very blessed to get four races in.”

The Adidas Grand Prix marked her fourth competition in eight days across three countries. She previously competed in France and Norway, her best time a 12.93, ranking tied for 14th among Americans this year.

“It looks not good right now, but you know USAs [National Championships], crazy things happen,” Jones said after finishing fourth at the Adidas Grand Prix.

Like in 2012. Jones entered the U.S. Olympic trials coming off 2011 spinal surgery and two hamstring tears. She was the eighth-fastest American that year going into the trials at Oregon’s Hayward Field.

“Everybody’s like, no chance she’ll make this team,” Jones said, “and I snagged the last spot.”

Jones finished third at the 2012 trials, .04 ahead of dreaded fourth place, to make the three-woman team.

In London, she did finish fourth, missing a medal by one tenth of a second, four years after leading the Beijing Olympic final going into the penultimate hurdle, clipping it and falling to seventh place.

The U.S. may be deeper in the 100m hurdles than any other track and field event, which ups Jones’ challenge to make the Worlds team. Of the world’s 16 fastest times this year, 14 were run by a combined six different Americans.

The U.S. has a legitimate shot to sweep places one through four at the World Championships and is perhaps favored to do so, especially with Olympic champion Sally Pearson of Australia out following a broken wrist. Three other times has one nation taken the top four spots in a single event at Worlds, the last in 2011.

“USA’s been deep for a while now, though,” said Jones, who trains in Baton Rouge, La., with early-season breakthrough Jasmin Stowers, the only woman to go sub-12.50 this year, and doing so three times (12.35, 12.39, 12.40). “It doesn’t matter if it’s four deep or eight deep, that’s the same because they really only take three [to Worlds].”

Jones’ chances of making another Olympic team may be stronger for Pyeongchang 2018 than Rio 2016. She’s open to returning to bobsled after the Rio Games, a feeling reinforced by a recent International Bobsled Federation rule change cutting the maximum weight for women’s sleds and crew by 66 pounds.

“I was always kind of on the fence,” about returning to bobsled before the rule change, Jones said. “So that makes me very valuable right now because I’m 133 pounds. Before, the bobsled athletes would each have to lose about 10 kilos [22 pounds], but if they now choose me, they don’t have to lose as much.”

Before the rule change, Jones had set and achieved a goal of gaining about 30 pounds more than her track weight to compete in bobsled leading into the Sochi Olympics, where she finished 11th with pilot Jazmine Fenlator.

Now, she won’t have to scarf double bacon cheeseburgers and pour down milkshakes if she wants to go back to the Winter Games.

“I kind of like eating hamburgers,” Jones said. “That’s actually the lure of the sport.

“I’ll go back [to bobsled] if they need me. I love competing still. Just take it year by year. But what I love about my bobsled teammates is the fact that they absolutely told me after the Winter Olympics, they said, ‘You take these next two years and focus on Summer Olympics.’ They didn’t put any pressure for me to come back, but they said, ‘We absolutely want to see you back if you’re willing to come back.'”

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Despite blade trouble, Nathan Chen leads men at Skate America

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Nathan Chen leads the men’s field at Skate America after tallying 104.12 points, a new personal best, on Friday night.

During the six-minute warm-up before the final group of skaters, Chen could be seen conferring with his coach, Rafael Arutunian, about his blade. He explained on the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA broadcast that during the warm-up, Arutunian manipulated the blade to fix the edge. They plan on playing with it again so it’s better for Saturday’s free skate.

“There’s a lot of points that I could have gotten last year and I’m making sure I take care of them this year,” Chen said of his personal best, according to U.S. Figure Skating. “The score is still not that close to some of the top men currently, but that’s something that I know is attainable and it’s something I’m going to work toward.”

Arutunian’s other pupil in the men’s field, Adam Rippon, is in second place behind Chen with a personal best of his own – 89.04 points. Sergei Voronov of Russia sits in third place after the short with 87.51 points.

The third American in the field, Ross Miner, popped a triple Axel and didn’t receive any credit for the element. He tallied 71.59 points and sits in eighth place heading into the free.

The free skate will determine which skaters earn a berth to the Grand Prix Final in Japan in two weeks. Chen, despite being a favorite for the Skate America title, can finish anywhere among the top four for a berth to the Final. Voronov can also finish in the top four to make it to the Final. Rippon needs to finish anywhere on the podium.

Plus, with reigning Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu and his training partner Javier Fernandez (a two-time world champion himself) out of the Grand Prix Final, the podium there is wide open. Patrick Chan, a three-time world champion and the Sochi silver medalist, won’t be at the Grand Prix Final either.

MORE: Skate America TV Schedule

Earlier Friday, in the pairs field, Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford scored 75.37 to lead the field after the short program.

China’s Yu Xiaoyu and Zhang Hao followed for second with 73.67 points. Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot, who represent Germany, earned 72.55 points for third place after the short program. All three teams have a chance to qualify for the exclusive Grand Prix Final should the podium stand is after Saturday’s free skate. Even with a shakeup among the top three, it is likely that they will all qualify.

The top American team was married couple Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim, who scored 64.27 and are fourth after the short. Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier tallied 63.04 (sixth) and Deanna Stellato and Nathan Bartholomay are eighth with 57.18 points.

MORE: Bruno Massot earns German citizenship

Massot gets German citizenship, path cleared for Pyeongchang

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LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — Bruno Massot learned Thursday he has passed his German citizenship test, clearing the way for him and partner Aliona Savchenko to compete at the Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Massot was born in Caen, France, and qualified for the 2014 Sochi Games on the French team, but he was held out of the Olympics because partner Daria Popova did not gain French citizenship in time.

He has since partnered with Savchenko, a Sochi participant, and been working to become a German citizen. This was his third time taking the German citizenship test, and the final time he would be able to qualify for citizenship in time for the Olympics.

“It’s really different,” Massot told The Associated Press, “because I don’t have this now anymore in my head, this question like, `I will be blocked again, or not?”‘

Massot’s naturalization ceremony will take place next Wednesday. Massot and Savchenko are in Lake Placid competing at Skate America this week.

MORE: Skate America preview, TV schedule