Lolo Jones named Humanitarian of Year

Dec 3, 2008 - 4:22 PM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- U.S. Olympian and World Indoor hurdling champion Lolo Jones has been named Visa Humanitarian Athlete of the Year by USA Track & Field, the sport's national governing body has announced.

Jones, who in 2008 made significant contributions to flood victims in her native Iowa, will be honored this Saturday at the Jesse Owens Awards and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Reno, Nevada.

On the track, she won the 100-meter hurdles at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Eugene, Oregon, but suffered disappointment at the Olympic Games in Beijing when she hit the penultimate hurdle in the final while leading and finished seventh.

Her wind-assisted 12.29 seconds at the Trials equaled the second-fastest time ever run under any conditions and Jones celebrated her July 6 victory by donating her $4,000 in prize money to a fund assisting Renee Trout, a single mother from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who was a victim of the floods that hit the state in the previous month. Jones' sponsors each matched the athlete's $4,000, bringing the total donation to $12,000.

"I've been receiving help from charities and other assistance programs since I was young so it was only natural for me to give back," Jones said.

In naming the 26-year-old Visa Humanitarian of the Year, USATF also recognized Jones's donation of $3,000 to her old high school in Des Moines, Iowa. Jones, who still owns the state record of 13.40 for the 100m hurdles that she set while at Theodore Roosevelt High, donated the money to repair the school's track and buy hurdles.

At the Drake Relays meet in the city last April, Jones also gave each girl on the Theodore Roosevelt track team a pair of spikes.

"In order to succeed at the world-class level, athletes must be focused on themselves," USATF CEO Doug Logan said.

"Athletes like Lolo Jones demonstrate that that focus does not come at the expense of giving back to your community, or to helping people in need.

"Lolo's generosity of spirit was accompanied by her financial generosity in assisting flood victims in her home state."

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