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Lolo Jones taking criticism but doing her job at the start

Feb 19, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Sochi Olympics Bobsleigh Women AP

Lolo Jones’ Olympic bobsled career didn’t start as well as she probably would’ve liked. The two-time Olympic track-and-field hurdler and USA-3 driver Jazmine Fenlator (pictured) find themselves in mid-pack – 11th out of 19th sleds – going into the last two runs today at Sanki Sliding Center.

But Jones’ top priority as brakeman is getting the USA-3 sled off to a strong start. And she’s doing that job well so far.

USA-3 had a 5.28-second start in Run No. 1 and a 5.26-second start in Run 2. Those start times are better than those from multiple teams that are currently ahead of USA-3 on aggregate time.

Fenlator herself said she made some mistakes at the controls, noting that she’d been “antsy to get on the ice.”

“Everyone reacts different, and I tend to get ahead of myself in the sled and in my first run I made a quite a bit of mistakes crucially,” she said according to USA Today. “Not that the driving lines were wrong but the timing. That’s what I worked on the second run to be a little bit better.”

MORE: Knee injury ends Bode Miller’s Sochi Olympics

But that didn’t stop Jones from being criticized once again after USA-3 turned in sub-par early results.

Men’s bobsledder Chuck Berkeley, who competed for the U.S. at Vancouver four years ago but did not qualify for Sochi, is now the latest competitor to question why Jones was included on the team this year.

“I get that people want to latch on to a media sensation and run wild,” he said to the Associated Press in reference to Jones. “But it comes down to this: There are athletes who deserve to be there who are not there, on the women’s and the men’s sides. And you have to ask yourself why is that the case.

“What is wrong with the selection process? Why is it flawed? Why is it corrupt?”

Jones’ teammates, Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams, currently lead the competition in USA-1.

  1. fordmandalay - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    Hey, it’s not like Lolo has absolutely zero training or experience in a bobsled…oh wait….well anyway, the most important thing here is not to pick a qualified athlete who’s spent years at the sport hoping for their one chance at making an Olympics; the important thing is publicity and who can sell the most for Nike and Under Armour!

    • bcjim - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:13 AM

      1. She has experience. 2-3 years now I think. Its not rocket science to push a bobsled anyway and its WAY less complicated then 100m hurdling which she seems to have mastered adequately.

      2. The start is not their problem evidently. Lolo seems to be doing a fair (at least) job of pushing the sled. Maybe they should let Lolo and Lauryn have their own sled.

      3. Why dont ladies have 4-man?

      4. To the sour grapers…If Lolo engaged in any kind of head-to-head running related athletic competition against someone who did not make the team, who do you think would win? Lolo is is an elite athlete.

      5.If the call was close for the bobsled team, I’m sorry, tie goes to Lolo on the basis of bringing attention to bobsled.

  2. ceraser45 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    Its sad when you have people like Chuck out there. He is just bitter because he couldn’t cut it this year. LoLo performed this season and deserved the spot on the team, cut and dry. Get over it

  3. dhardy8207 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    Whether she has experience with the bobsled for 3 months or 3 years, her job as the “leg man” is to get the sled off to the fastest start possible and as all the pundits covering the olympics have noted she has done that. His whinning about “the process” is just that, whinning. I didnt hear these remarks when Vonetta Flowers, an Alabama native and “former track star” helped win the gold medal for the US in Salt Lake…

    This “process” of enlisting track athletes is not new. The men’s 4 man sled team has a Baylor football player serving as the “leg man”. Its about strength, speed and control.

  4. eightysixisback - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    it sounds like she did her job so i would have to say quit your cryin, sally to the guy who is complaining because he didnt make the team.

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