Lolo plays weight game for Sochi
PARK CITY, Utah -- For all the changes Lolo Jones has endured in her transformation from Olympic hurdler to bobsledder, perhaps nothing has proven more challenging than her quest to build a bigger, stronger, heavier body.
Last year, during her inaugural bobsled season, the 31-year-old struggled to put on weight. So you can imagine her excitement during a recent commercial shoot when she slipped into her Team USA bobsled suit only to have it rip down the middle of her torso. While many would have reacted with horror, Jones smiled.
"Yeah, that hasn't happened to me before," Jones admitted Monday at the U.S. Olympic media summit. "They had to sew me back in. It was crazy. I was like, 'Get me a scale.' I was happy."
Happy because the wardrobe malfunction meant Jones was inching closer to her target weight of 162 pounds that she hopes to reach in the lead-up to the Sochi Olympics. Jones, who weighed 135 pounds when she finished fourth in the 100-meter hurdles in the 2012 London Games, struggled to eclipse 150 pounds last season.
After dropping down to 138 to run hurdles this past spring and summer, she's ecstatic that she's already up to 158.5 pounds before the 2013 bobsled season has even begun. (Her diet included plenty of bacon double cheeseburgers and consuming 9,000 calories per day.)
"As a track athlete, you're more like a greyhound dog," Jones said. "With bobsled, you're more Rottweiler or pit bull. At first, my legs were so thick. I felt like I had pregnant legs."
It's all in the name of Jones' longtime goal: winning an Olympic medal.
"When you're wearing that Team USA, it doesn't feel any different if you're in a bobsled uniform or a track uniform," she said. "You get the same chills. Well, maybe it's a bit colder [for bobsled]."
Jones is one of several American women who will be vying for a spot on the U.S. bobsled team. She finished second in her first career World Cup competition last November and was part of the U.S. team that won gold at last year's World Championships.
The U.S. team trials begin Oct. 12. Regardless of what happens there and whether or not she's selected for the U.S. team, the Iowa native said she has every intention of returning to track and field to hopefully compete in Rio in 2016. And, on Monday, she hinted that the bobsled might not be the end of her Winter Olympics dream.
"When I went out to bobsled, the skeleton coach said, 'You should really be a skelly athlete,'" Jones said. "'You wouldn't have to gain all the weight. You could go back and forth easier,' So, I hate to say this, but after the Winter Olympics, I kind of want to try skelly. Not serious. But I just want to go down and see what it's like."