Do you think anything will come of Lolo Jones' recent foray into bobsledding?
Bobsled foray yields only new tweet material
By Melissa Isaacson
Lolo Jones obviously doesn't need the publicity.
And I'm not sure how much the U.S. women's bobsledding team will really get out of a pep talk from the hurdler.
U.S. bobsled coach Todd Hays said he invited Jones to take part in a one-day trial along with fellow Olympic track team members Hyleas Fountain and Tianna Madison so they could share some of their Olympic experiences and "help boost team morale."
Of course, some might say Jones is to team morale what the Chicago Bears' offensive line would be to a hot air balloon ride, so it's tough to imagine her joining the bobsledders in the role of motivational speaker. And with the fact Jones, the fourth-place finisher in the 100-meter hurdles in London, finished in a tie for seventh in the U.S. push-start championships in Lake Placid on Friday, it is unlikely she will make the team any other way.
If nothing else, though, she will at least have something else to tweet about.
There could be more to story than publicity
By Graham Hays
The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, begin in 16 months, which means it would normally be about 15 months and three weeks until any sports fan who doesn't own a time-share in Lake Placid starts thinking about bobsledding. So it's entirely possible, indeed probable, the only thing that will come from Lolo Jones spending some training days with the United States bobsled team has already happened -- people like us talking about bobsledding in October.
If that was coach Todd Hays' plan in inviting Jones and two other American track Olympians to compete in training sessions, as was reported, then well played. If Jones only accepted because it was a way to make the news cycle months after her time in the London spotlight, no harm done. But if their motives weren't so transparent, or if those motives were at least mixed, then why couldn't something more substantial come of her curiosity?
I don't know squat about the skills or training required to be one of the non-drivers in a bobsled -- the closest I've come to the experience is piloting a 1986 Honda Civic without power steering on icy Indiana roads. But it doesn't seem beyond reasonable to think someone with athletic traits like Jones could transfer those skills to the short-burst explosiveness seemingly required to push a bobsled, or a bobsleigh for that matter. I admit my first thought was that even if Jones or any of her track teammates happen to be athletically superior to current bobsled aspirants, there is no way 16 months is enough time for them to master the technique of running on ice in an event where misplacing even a tenth of a second can ruin things. But looking at stories like this about Herschel Walker (and other bobsled hopefuls like Willie Gault and Edwin Moses) from the fall of 1990, two years before Albertville, the calendar doesn't seem prohibitive. More daunting, perhaps, is the fact the United States already appears pretty good at women's bobsled, taking third, fifth and sixth in the two-woman in Vancouver two years ago.
Is it a publicity stunt on the part of the U.S. bobsled team, Jones or both? Yeah, probably. And it worked. But call me crazy for thinking there's a chance something productive could come of it.
Bobsled draws criticism away from Twitter mishap
By Kate Fagan
I think Lolo is still focused on one more shot at redemption in the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro -- in the hurdles. After that? Who knows. I could see her switching to a different sport, such as bobsledding, to continue representing the U.S. in the Olympics, but not until after 2016. Obviously making such a switch is not without precedent, but it requires the full four years of lead time -- at a minimum -- to master the new discipline. Even the most talented athlete would struggle to switch sports midway through an Olympic cycle. Right now, there are less than two years before the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
But this bobsledding story has done one helpful thing for Lolo Jones -- it's provided a distraction from her Twitter mishap with Eric LeGrand.
When it comes to her Twitter responses to LeGrand, Lolo can't get out of her own way. So hopping on a bobsled in Lake Placid at least gets people thinking about something else for a day.
Cross-sport success not unusual
By Sarah Spain
Despite having seen the movie "Cool Runnings" a dozen or so times, I have to admit I'm still not a bobsledding expert. So in the spirit of the Olympic Games (teamwork, sharing) I thought I'd seek help from a real expert, Olympic bobsledder Jamie Moriarty. Back when we were at Cornell University together, Moriarty was an All-Ivy safety on the football team. When his football career ended he got the itch to compete again, decided to give bobsledding a try and made the Vancouver team. He weighed in on whether Lolo Jones could make the jump to bobsledding as seamlessly as he did.
"It's awesome to see cross-sport participation from Team USA," Moriarty said. "In this country, athletes generally are introduced to bobsledding later in their athletic careers. Because of the unique requirements to be successful in the sport, our athletes tend to come from either a track and field or football [for the guys] background, as there are many similarities that translate from those sports to bobsled."
Lolo's speed, strength and competitive fire could very well make her a successful bobsledder, but there are major differences between competing as an individual and competing on a team. Moriarty was diplomatic in his assessment of Lolo's chances to make the team.
"Regardless of whether Lolo decides to commit to the pursuit of Sochi 2014 or not, it was a pleasure to have her, Hyleas Fountain and Tianna Madison try their hand on the push track this past week," he said.
Jones an odd choice
By Amanda Rykoff
Upon further reflection, I'm not going to get started on a new screenplay, "Cool Runnings 2: The Lolo Jones Story." I know Jones accepted an invitation to try out for the U.S. women's bobsledding team, but I don't think anybody expects her to be competing in Sochi in 2014.
According to news reports, Todd Hays, the U.S. women's bobsledding coach, invited three track athletes (including Jones) to try out so they could "share their Olympics experiences with our athletes and to help boost team morale." Not only does that sound like Jones won't be switching to bobsledding full time, it's an odd choice by Hays considering all the backstabbing and gossiping with Jones and her track and field teammates in London. I'm not sure those are the "Olympic experiences" he wants shared with the team.
Jones an attention win-win for bobsledding
By Melissa Jacobs
Lolo Jones' foray into bobsledding does not seem serious on the surface. U.S. bobsled coach Todd Hays invited Jones, along with two other members of the U.S. Olympic track team, to compete so they could "share their Olympic experiences."
It sounds like Hays directly invited Jones because of the publicity she would drive to the bobsledding team. And Jones is, of course, one of the biggest attention-seekers in sports. Look, we're having a roundtable about Lolo Jones and bobsledding. Sounds like a win-win to me. I just wouldn't bank on Jones taking home any bobsledding medals in Sochi.
Public can't withstand another Lolo media circus
By Adena Andrews
(Said in Kanye West's voice) "Lolo Jones I'm really happy for you, I'mma let you finish but Jamaica had the best bobsled team story of all time." With that said, Ms. Jones will you please step away from the bobsled and take a seat out of the spotlight for at least two months? The coals from the Summer Games flame are barely cold and we are discussing Jones again. I applaud her for stretching the normal 15 minutes of Olympic fame into an hour, but it may be overkill. Jones, do yourself a favor and give the public a chance to miss you.
Jones is a gifted athlete but her recent antics -- Twitter pity parties, medal chasing on a bobsled team -- seem like a cry for help and attention. I wonder if her publicist put her up to this again. Whoever her publicist is deserves an award; Jones is kept in the press by any means necessary. I feel like I'm feeding into the Jones media machine just by writing this. I wish Jones the best of luck on the ice but I don't know if the public can withstand another Lolo Jones media circus in two years for the Winter Games.