Lolo Jones is once again a world champion. In a different sport.
Jones, who gained fame during her career as a hurdler and infamy for her fall in the 2008 Olympics, recorded the brightest day of her second act as an athlete on Saturday.
At the age of 38, Jones and her partner Kaillie Humphries took gold in the two-woman bobsled at the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation world championships, beating out the second-place finishers by 0.35 seconds:
IT'S OFFICIAL: Kaillie Humphries and Lolo Jones are world champions! 🏆@BobsledKaillie is the first four-time world champion in two-woman bobsled and @lolojones wins her first world bobsled title. pic.twitter.com/2eTdV1r8wk
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) February 6, 2021
The gold medal is the first of Jones’ bobsledding career and the fourth for Humphries. The latter mark makes Humphries the first four-time champion in the event.
Jones had previously been part of the United States’ gold medal-winning mixed team in the 2013 world championships, but Saturday was the first pure bobsled win of her career (the mixed event also features skeleton racing). She twice won gold in the 60-meter hurdles at the World Indoor Championships in 2008 and 2010.
Within hours, Jones declared more than a decade of naysaying hadn’t affected her.
“You should retire.”
11 years since my last World champs medal. 11 years of hate.
Ignore them all. Keep grinding. pic.twitter.com/9cSXgiSKuo
— Lolo Jones (@lolojones) February 6, 2021
Jones also credited 90 percent of the victory to Humphries’ talent as a pilot, which Humphries disagreed with.
We did it together. It takes 2
— Kaillie Humphries OLY (@BobsledKaillie) February 6, 2021
Lolo Jones trying to return to Beijing
The pair’s combined win was as improbable two years ago as it would have been when Jones was winning gold medals as a hurdler on the world stage.
For starters, Humphries, already a bobsled legend, was racing for her native Canada until 2019, when her switch to representing the United States was approved following harassment claims and an extended battle with the Canadian federation.
At the same time, Jones wasn’t even focusing on the sport, instead preparing for one last run at Olympic glory as a hurdler. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the delay of the Tokyo Games, Jones pivoted, first rejoining MTV reality competition “The Challenge,” then partnering up with Humphries.
Per NBC Sports, Humphries and Jones were paired together for the first time only last week at the Bobsleigh World Cup in Innsbruck and kept it going for the world championships in Altenberg.
The big goal now is qualifying for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. For Humphries, the main obstacle is being eligible for the U.S. team. She is currently able to compete with the team thanks to her American husband, but she will reportedly have to gain U.S. citizenship to be Olympic eligible.
If Jones makes the team with Humphries or someone else, she would be the oldest U.S. female bobsledder in Olympic history at 39 years old. A return to Beijing and triumph would bring her career, which saw its lowest moment in the same city, full circle.
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