Lolo Jones back in bobsled, seeking elusive Olympic medal and return to Beijing

Lolo Jones
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Lolo Jones hasn’t returned to China since 2008, since one bad step in what was then the biggest race of her life cost her an Olympic gold medal.

She’s never wanted to go back.

Her stance might change in 2022.

Jones — the longtime U.S. hurdles star who decided to add sliding to her resume a few years ago — is back with USA Bobsled, making this season’s 10-woman national team as a push athlete. That puts her squarely in the mix for the next Olympics, which just happen to be in Beijing, the city where that misstep in the 100m hurdles final happened 12 years ago.

How perfect.

“I would love to have the biggest failure of my life turned into the biggest success, and I would love for people to be encouraged by that persistence, determination, all these cliche things that Olympians say,” Jones told The Associated Press.

“And so, can I make it happen? I don’t know, but we are in the home stretch. We’re in the last part of this long, long race and I’m going to do my hardest to return to Beijing, the place that has hurt my career the most and turn it around.”

It’s not a farfetched plan. In her most recent four World Cup appearances — in fairness, the last of those was nearly three years ago — she helped the U.S. win a medal, two of them gold.

Jones went to the Olympics for track in 2008 and again at London in 2012, then made the bobsled Olympic team for the Sochi Games in 2014. She withdrew from the 2016 U.S. Olympic track trials while recovering from hip surgery and wasn’t picked for the 2018 Olympic bobsled team. She was training for the Olympic Trials for the 2020 Tokyo Games, which have been delayed a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

So, she’s back in bobsled. And at 38, she knows that Olympic window is closing.

“I would say she really has a real chance,” USA Bobsled and Skeleton CEO Aron McGuire said. “She knows what it takes for her specifically but she knows what it takes generally to be at a point where she is one of the top athletes in the world in whatever she is doing, whether it’s hurdling or pushing a bobsled. And she has that drive. She has that commitment to it and that passion that will certainly put her in a position to be one of the top athletes push athletes if that’s what she puts her mind to.”

McGuire was in the stands that day in Beijing in 2008. He was working for USA Track and Field at the time and saw her run clear from the rest of the field before hitting the next-to-last hurdle in the gold-medal race. She stumbled, lost all her momentum and crossed the line in seventh.

“The ironic thing is that she was covering more distance between hurdles than she normally does because her velocity was so high,” McGuire said. “It’s a crazy thing. She was closer to the hurdles than normal because of that velocity. Had she been going just a little slower, she would have won that race.”

There is no such thing as too much velocity in bobsled. Her job: be in perfect harmony with the driver for about 45 yards of a dead sprint at the start, pushing the sled down the top of the chute as quickly and forcefully as possible, then hop aboard and let the driver do the rest.

Jones thought she was done with bobsledding after not making the 2018 Olympic team. Then Kaillie Humphries — the two-time Olympic champion, three-time Olympic medalist and reigning world champion — sent her a direct message on social media about returning to the U.S. team.

“Slid into my DMs,” Jones said.

Before long, Jones was sliding again.

Jones was just in Lake Placid, New York — USA Bobsled’s training base — for about a month to prepare for team trials and selection races. That came after she completed filming for a reality show for MTV, and she wasn’t anywhere near as heavy as she would prefer to be for bobsledding. Her ideal weight for track is around 135 pounds; for bobsledding, it can reach 165. But she made the team anyway, opening the door for possibly a fourth Olympic berth.

That, of course, would mean a return to Beijing. It won’t be easy. There’s races to get through, other hopefuls to beat out and a selection committee to impress, but she’s got a chance and sees the obvious symmetry.

Beijing is where it all went wrong. It could now be where she finally gets that long-awaited medal.

“How can it be a coincidence?” Jones said. “But what’s more important for me, and it’s always been very important, is facing my fears. And in 2008, I was winning that race, and I hit a hurdle and it costs me Olympic gold. Nothing would mean more to me than to face my fears of 12 years of being ridiculed for not getting an Olympic medal, to going back to the same place where everybody said I blew it, everybody called me a failure all these years, and being successful.”

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Canada wins men’s hockey world title; Latvia wins first medal

IIHF Hockey World Championship

TAMPERE, Finland — Samuel Blais scored two goals to rally Canada to a 5-2 victory over Germany in the final of the world men’s hockey championship on Sunday.

It’s a record 28th world title for Canada, and its second in three years. Russia has 27 while Germany has never won the trophy.

Blais netted with a backhand 4:51 into the final period for a 3-2 lead for Canada, which was playing in its fourth straight final.

“It feels really good,” Blais said. “We’ve been in Europe for a month and we’ve all waited for that moment to play for the gold medal game. And we’re lucky enough to have won it.”

Lawson Crouse, Tyler Toffoli and Scott Laughton also scored for Canada, Peyton Krebs had two assists and goaltender Samuel Montembeault stopped 21 shots.

Toffoli stretched the lead to 4-2 from the left circle with 8:09 remaining and Laughton made it 5-2 with an empty net goal.

Adam Fantilli became only the second Canadian player after Jonathan Toews to win gold at the world juniors and world championship the same year.

Canada had to come back twice in the final.

John Peterka wristed a shot past Montembeault from the left circle 7:44 into the game. It was the sixth goal for the Buffalo Sabres forward at the tournament.

Blais was fed by Krebs to beat goaltender Mathias Niederberger and tie it 1-1 at 10:47.

Daniel Fischbuch put the Germans ahead again with a one-timer with 6:13 to go in the middle period.

Crouse equalized on a power play with 2:32 remaining in the frame.

It was the first medal for Germany since 1953 when it was second behind Sweden.

The two previously met just once in the final with Canada winning 6-1 in 1930.


Defenseman Kristian Rubins scored his second goal 1:22 into overtime to lead Latvia to a 4-3 victory over the United States and earn a bronze medal earlier Sunday.

It’s the first top-three finish for Latvia at the tournament. Its previous best was a seventh place it managed three times.

The U.S. lost in the bronze medal game for the second straight year. The U.S. team was cruising through the tournament with eight straight wins until it was defeated by Germany in the semifinal 4-3 in overtime.

Rubins rallied Latvia with his first with 5:39 to go in the final period to tie the game at 3 to force overtime.

Roberts Bukarts and Janis Jaks also scored for Latvia.

Rocco Grimaldi scored twice for the U.S. in the opening period to negate Latvia’s 1-0 and 2-1 leads.

Matt Coronato had put the U.S. 3-2 ahead 6:19 into the final period.

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2023 French Open women’s singles draw, scores

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At the French Open, Iga Swiatek of Poland eyes a third title at Roland Garros and a fourth Grand Slam singles crown overall.

Main draw play began Sunday, live on Peacock.

Swiatek, the No. 1 seed from Poland, can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

Turning 22 during the tournament, she can become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Men’s Draw

But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her most recent match with a right thigh injury last week and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw