ESPNU debuts new special Monday

The 2012 London Summer Olympics are just around the corner.  And just in time to build anticipation for this year’s games, ESPNU will air its newest special, “Lolo.”  “Lolo” airs Monday night at 7pm on ESPNU.

“Lolo” centers on track and field star Lori “Lolo” Jones.  It tells the story of an athlete who started her life with nothing, but through sheer determination and hard work, became one of the greatest names in her sport today.  Director Rory Karpf uses interviews with Jones’ family and friends, and Jones herself to illustrate her story.

Lori “Lolo” Jones’ story starts in Des Moines, Iowa.  She and her siblings grew up hard.  Their father was constantly in and out of the family’s picture.  Their mom struggled to make ends meet.  Jones herself talks about the family’s struggles leading to her having to shoplift food just to make sure she had something to eat and how the family even had to sleep on the floor of a Salvation Army Church because they had nowhere else at one point.  She also recounts how when her father was around, they never had one stable car.  She notes that her dad was always buying cheap cars that broke down quickly.  In the colder months of the year, she would end up having to run from point to point as a result of this.  That, she says, is what started her love of running.  She said of running that, “it [running] was the friend that never left.”

Lolo’s love of running became not just a love, but a genuine talent.  It garnered her a scholarship to LSU.  Jones said of her move to Louisiana that for a girl from Iowa, it was a total culture shock.  As much as it was a culture shock, moving to Louisiana and attending LSU was a turning point for her.  LSU was where she met track and field coach Dennis Shaver.  Shaver would unwittingly become the father figure that Jones needed to nurture her gift.  And he did just that.

Coach Shaver was there for Lolo after she failed to qualify for the 2004 Olympics in Athens.  It was his motivation that kept her going and working her way to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  Her run in the ’08 Olympics was nothing short of miraculous.  It was also one of the most important moments in her life.  When she came up short of the Gold in her final event, Jones started to question herself.  That led her to doubt herself in other competitions.  But the reality was that her problems may not have been her fault after all.  As a matter of fact, it would turn out that Jones had a problem that came as a surprise to everyone including herself that led to her ups and downs since the ’08 Olympics.

When she went to see a doctor about everything she was going through, he discovered that Jones actually had a problem with her spine.  It turned out that a problem with her spine had caused her to lose sensation to her feet.  That explained her legs and feet not moving the way she had wanted.  She finally had an answer.  After a successful procedure and recovery, Lolo Jones made an amazing comeback with a win at the ’08 U.S. Open.  And now, she will try to make it to this year’s London Olympics at next month’s Olympic Trials, hoping that the third time will truly be the charm.  Needless to say that when she tries out next month, there will likely be a lot of people watching on television and at those trials chanting, “Go! Go! Lolo! 

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