DES MOINES — Lolo Jones ran fast but ran fourth in Saturday’s stacked London Rematch 100-meter hurdles event at the Drake Relays.
Just like in the real London.
Des Moines’ most celebrated link to elite track and field could already sense the detractors coming, connecting venom-drizzled dots to make social media swipes.
“I can take away some positives, but I feel like people will automatically attack me and turn it into something negative,” said Jones, who finished .08 seconds behind race winner Queen Harrison, who clocked a 12.71. “For me, I’m back in the groove of things. I’m back running and I’m just loving track and field right now. But I’m sure in your articles or whatever people want to toss on me on Twitter, the attacks will come. I’ll just prepare myself.”
Jones seemed well prepared for the race, having developed “like, Hercules” strength by pulling 400-pound bobsleds around while helping the United States win World Cup gold in January at St. Moritz, Switzerland.
She’s working on a seven-steps approach to the first hurdle in races, a technique she learned from 2012 110-meter men’s hurdles Olympic gold medalist Aries Merritt.
She’s convinced that will lead to big gains, but acknowledged it takes time to master.
“ It took him about half a season,” said Jones, who saw fellow U.S. Olympians Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells edge her for second and third, respectively. “He just said, ‘Don’t get discouraged and commit to it.’ He said it does take a while, though, but at the end of his first season doing it, he was killing it.”
Harrison, ranked sixth in the world by all-athletics.com, surprised by triumphing over a field that included the silver and bronze medalists (Harper and Wells) from London, Jones, and other highly-ranked hurdlers such as Tiffany Porter.
“I’m getting comfortable again with saying I am one of the best in the world and I can be in the front,” said Harrison, who won both the 100 and 400 hurdles at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Harper — who said her London comments regarding Jones were misconstrued — stands atop the world rankings and expected a fast start to lead to a win.
“When I got out there and was leading, I was like, ‘There it is, there it is, there it is,’” Harper said. “Thought I had it.”
She’ll keep trying.
Just like Jones, Harrison, Wells and the rest.
“I’m just not race sharp right now,” Jones said. “So I did the best I could out there. It was a good start.”