Cool Runnings for Lolo?

By Natalie Robertson

It all started with a tweet. On October 25, the U.S. Olympic Team posted a tweet announcing the U.S. National’s Bobsled Team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. It was linked to a press release published by the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (USBSF) with information about members of the team. As I was reading through the press release, I noticed that one of the members on the women’s team was Elana Meyers from Douglasville, GA. I found this very interesting, since the sport of bobsled is very rare here in the state of Georgia. What I found more interesting, as I’m sure the rest of America did too, was one of the other names on the list…Lolo Jones.

Lolo Jones

So, Lolo Jones is a member of the U.S. National’s Bobsled Team. This news comes not long after her trip to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, where she competed as a hurdler for the U.S. Track and Field team. Lolo has been a popular figure in the sports world, especially within the last year. She was favored to win a gold medal in hurdles for the U.S. at the Olympics this summer, but came up short, finishing in 4th place. She has a huge online presence on Twitter and has been in some heat lately for tweeting some inappropriate or rude statements toward others. She has also been in the news for being a virgin and maintaining her virginity throughout her career.

Despite all the popularity she has received, many people feel that Lolo Jones is hungry for attention and lives only for fame. Some people have said that everything she says and does is a way for her to grab the spotlight at all times. Others disagree. People, including myself, also see her as a strong individual and a role model for young women. So, as expected, there is a bit of controversy surrounding her spot on the bobsled team. Once again, people have commented, saying that this is just another ploy to gain attention and fame. Most others are proud of Lolo and support her 100% as she takes this new step. As for me? Well, I am surprised by this announcement. It never occurred to me that athletes could compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. It got me thinking…How many other U.S. Olympians have done what Lolo is about to do?

I started doing some research and I came across some pretty interesting information. Along with Lolo Jones, two other track and field Olympians were invited to be on the Women’s Bobsled Team for the 2014 Winter Olympics. They are Tianna Madison and Hyleas Fountain. Only Hyleas Fountain accepted the offer. There have also been U.S. Olympians in the past who have competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Many have done both speed skating and cycling, while others have done the track and field/bobsled route. Among the speed skaters/cyclists, Connie Carpenter-Phinney was the youngest American female to ever compete in the Winter Olympics in 1972, at the age of 14. She became injured and used cycling as part of her rehab and training process. This led to her competing in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, where she won gold in the cycling road race. Other American Olympians that have competed in both cycling and speed skating have been Arthur Longsjo, Connie Paraskevin , and Chris Witty. There have been 2 U.S. Olympians who have done bobsled and another Summer Olympic event. Willie Davenport was on the U.S. Track and Field Team as a hurdler. He won the gold medal in 1968. In the Winter Olympic Games of 1980, he was on the U.S. Bobsled team. Another Olympic athlete, Eddie Eagan, won gold in the 1920 Summer Olympics in Boxing and also won gold in the 1932 Winter Olympics in Bobsled.

Connie Carpenter-Phinney

It amazes me to see these athletes that have competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. I feel that for Lolo, especially, this will be good for her image. She has a chance to prove herself as a great athlete and she is now able to market herself as both a Summer and Winter Olympian for the United States. People will still think she is doing all this for show, but I have faith in her. She has my support. Make us proud Lolo!

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