Iowa native Lolo Jones advanced to the semifinals of the 100 meter hurdles today at the London Olympics. The Des Moines Roosevelt graduate won her quarterfinal round heat by posting the second fastest time (12.68 seconds) of the 50 athletes in the field.
Des Moines Register sports columnist Bryce Miller, who’s in London, believes Jones has a good shot at winning a medal. Miller also watched Jones compete in Eugene, Oregon in June at the Olympic Trials where she narrowly qualified for the final spot on the U.S. team. “I don’t think I would’ve said she had a shot to medal at the trials, but I’m rethinking that a bit now,” Miller told Radio Iowa.
Sally Pearson of Australia, the 2008 silver medalist who’s ranked #1 in the world, posted the fastest time today at 12.57 seconds. Americans Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells also advanced to the semifinals. Harper won Olympic gold in 2008 after Jones was leading the race, but Jones clipped the second to last hurdle and stumbled to a 7th place finish.
Miller says this is the healthiest Jones has been in over a year. “She had (spinal) surgery last August, a year out from the Olympics, and then she had a couple of hamstring injuries earlier this year,” Miller said. “So, they really went into the trials without training or working out significantly. To make the Olympic team with the (quality) field they had, that said something, and then today she ran with even more confidence. You could tell talking to her and her coach, I think she truly is significantly healthier than she’s been (dating) all the way back into last summer.”
Jones posted her best time of the season today. Miller said Jones and the other medalist hopefuls will run even faster Tuesday. “Who didn’t put the foot on the gas all the way during the heat races? I would imagine Dawn Harper, looking at her race, didn’t go at top speed because she won so easily. Kellie Wells was in the same situation. So, we’ll find out, but it was a good start (for Jones), there’s no doubt about it,” Miller said.
Dawn Harper, like Jones, has ties to Iowa. Harper’s father and siblings live in Iowa City.
The semifinal races for the 100 meter hurdles are scheduled for 1:15 p.m., Iowa time, on Tuesday. The final will take place at 3 p.m., Iowa time.
In Olympic gymnastics today, Gabby Douglas botched her routine and finished last in the uneven bars competition. Douglas, who trained in West Des Moines, will compete in beam Tuesday. She’s already won gold in the individual all-around and team competitions.