Lolo Jones set out to the 2012 London Olympics looking for redemption after her disappointing finish in Beijing back in 2008, and it looks like her chances of getting that redemption are pretty good if her performance on Monday is any indication.
Jones, a Des Moines native, managed to score a 2012 season best of 12.68 seconds in her 100-meter hurdles heat on Monday, qualifying her for the semifinals and putting her in second place behind reigning Australian champion Sally Pearson, who had a time of 12.57 in the fifth qualifying heat, and well ahead of Canadian Phylicia George.
“It was a comfortable race. I felt really good,” Jones told media after her run. “I just felt really good today. I’m ready to go on to the next round. I’m ready to make everyone proud. It’s exciting. I’m going to do my best and fight for gold, but I don’t ever bet on the hurdles.”
As Jones prepares to take on the competition and bring home an Olympic gold medal, the 2008 Beijing Olympics will undoubtedly be in the back of her mind. At the 2008 finals, Jones was leading the competition and was seemingly on her way to take home the gold, but she clipped the ninth of ten hurdles, which put her back in seventh place.
To get a gold medal — and redemption — Jones will have to take down Pearson, who has had a series of dominating performances at the 2012 Olympics. But Dennis Shaver, Jones’ personal coach, told USA Today that he thinks that Jones has what it takes to beat Pearson.
“I think [Pearson is] having a great, great year. But in 2008, no one was beating Lolo Jones, either,” he said. “So anything can happen. They haven’t handed the gold medal to anyone yet. When the final’s over, we’ll know who the Olympic champion is.”