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Folks won’t get a Lolo Jones fix in Rio this year

The U.S. Olympic hurdler said she’ll see us in 2020

EUGENE, Ore. — The popular and polarizing hurdler took to Instagram on Wednesday to announce she won’t be healthy enough to compete at U.S. Olympic trials.

 

Jones had hip surgery in November and isn’t healed enough to compete later this week.

The 33-year-old, who also competed for the United States in bobsled at the Sochi Olympics, has irritated many in track circles because of her knack for getting attention that doesn’t measure up to her results.

“I may have not shown you over the course of my career how to win an Olympic gold medal, but I hope my journey has shown you how to get back up when you get knocked down, how to try again when you feel like you’ve already tried so many times,” Jones said.

She was the favorite heading into the 2008 Olympics, but finished seventh after tripping over the second-to-last hurdle while in the lead.

She finished fourth at the London Games, but still got as much or more attention as any U.S. woman in the lead-up to the Olympics, with a steady diet of magazine covers and commercials. Her childhood narrative – her family once lived in a church basement in Iowa – only added to her marketability.

Had Jones competed this year, she would’ve been a long shot to make the U.S. team. She said her absence from this year’s trials does not mean she’s retiring.

“I don’t know what my future holds, and I’m sure a lot of you want to know if I’m going back to bobsled,” she said. “Know this, I’m a fighter. I want to finish this race strong, whatever that race is.”

Kelley Evans is a general editor at The Undefeated. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.