The opinionated athlete always gives good conversation.
Lolo Jones is a true double threat, among few athletes that have competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. She twice raced in the 100-meter hurdles (2008 and 2012) and also served as a bobsledder for Team USA at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Jones, who anticipated the women’s 100-meter hurdles at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials this past June, scratched from the meet after battling with injuries since her last race in February. She has since turned her attention to bobsled, which she’ll focus on this season after being named to the national team back in November.
When she’s not on the track refining her hurdle technique or performing Olympic lifts to strengthen herself for bobsled, one can be entertained by her comical commentary via social media. “I wouldn’t say #BAMAvsLSU game is boring but it’s just like watching a married couple fight for the millionth time,” she recently tweeted.
Here, the three-time Olympian and American record holder gets honest about NFL GameDay, real talk on Twitter and her playlist guilty pleasures.
Q: On the day of the New York City Marathon, you tweeted to Kara Goucher, “What is the weirdest thought one has running a #nycmarathon?” What about for you when you’re hurdling?
Jones: I usually have my thoughts on the start line. My race is so short—12 seconds. Usually I’m held on the start line for about five minutes, which can be pretty intense when you’re wired up. I’ve thought about, ‘Did I leave my iron on at home?’ Just the weirdest stuff.
Q: You’re known to critique hurdle technique of NFL players on game day.
Jones: I feel unfair critiquing these football players because one, they’re wearing pads. Two, their hurdle moves. My hurdle never moves so that would definitely change the approach. Three, they have to worry about somebody tackling them. Lately, what I’ve found is a lot of them are hurdling and they don’t actually need to hurdle. The other night I saw a guy on defense intercept the ball and then he hurdled over somebody. But he’s defense—he’s used to blocking and charging. Why did he choose to hurdle? He should have just went around.
Q: Who in the NFL has the best hurdle form in your opinion?
Jones: Ezekiel Elliott from the Cowboys. I think he was a hurdler in high school and his mom was a hurdler. He’s spot on with his lead and trail leg. Usually with NFL players either their lead leg or trail leg is kind of sloppy. But Elliott is pretty solid.
Q: You’ve transitioned from track to bobsled. In the past you gained 30 pounds to handle the demands of the sport. What’s been the biggest adjustment physically this time around?
Jones: [USA Bobsled] changed the rule so the sled and the athletes in the bobsled have to be lighter. This will actually make it easier for me to transition back to track. It’s so hard gaining weight and losing it. I’m about 135 pounds during track season; for bobsled I’ve had to go up to 160 pounds. Now I can stay at 140.
Q: Is there any strength training crossover for both sports?
Jones: It’s a lot of Olympic movements, like power cleans. I focus more on squats for bobsled, and for track I do Olympic stuff, but also a lot of lighter weight with quick movements. That’s how I stay toned and not bulk up for track because using your bodyweight will tone you down.
Q: How conscientious are you about your diet when you’re on the road, and what do you do to feel balanced?
Jones: It’s tough. It’s easy to eat terrible, but your body notices. My main thing is salad—kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts and broccoli are my go-to veggies. Finding fresh fish or organic chicken is not a problem. It’s really the snack stuff that kills you. When you’re on a plane, most people want to snack. I like to find healthy snacks like trail mix.
Q: You’ve got a quirky side that complements your seriousness toward training and competing. Recently you tweeted how you responded to your mom when she asked if I you’re even trying to get married: “I woke up at 7am to get laser hair removal on my toes.”
Jones: It’s real talk. Sometimes it gets me in trouble, but what runner isn’t quirky? Come on, the thoughts in our head when we’re running—you’ve got to be your own best friend. I think runners get my quirkiness.
Q: How do you like to unwind when you’re not training or traveling?
Jones: I’m a big Netflix person. I like to veg out. Lately I’ve been trying to get into reading because watching T.V. at night does affect your quality of sleep. I try to read and not look at electronics an hour or 30 minutes before I go to bed. Right now I’m reading Stephen King’s “The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.”
Q: If someone randomly went through your iPhone, what’s the most surprising find on your playlist?
Jones: Every category of music is in my phone, but I think the most embarrassing is this 80s group, Modern Talking. They never made it in America—they were only famous in Europe. The reason I have it is because the music was played nonstop in Sochi for the Olympics. It’s typical 80s cheesy music and so awkward.