2012 U.S. Open, LoLo Jones,
photo by PhotoRun.net
LoLo Jones, one of the most popular elite athletes of the modern social media age, has re-signed a sponsorship agreement with ASICS America, one of the premier performance running brands in the world.
LoLo Jones came within one hurdle of winning the 2008 Beijing Olympics, fought back through injuries in 2009-2012, and finished in fourth place in the London 2012 Olympics. Her story, in the extremely competitive 100m hurdles, is even that more enduring with social media.
With sponsors such as BP, Proctor & Gamble, Red Bull and ASICS America, LoLo Jones captured the hearts of many sports fans in America with her dead honest, many times quirky responses on social media. At times, Ms. Jones revealed heretofore intimate details of her life, such as her desire to stay a virgin until she was married. That honesty was welcomed by some and also made her the poster child for whack jobs who wrote about, and in intimate detail, how they could help her, with what, in modern day, may be considered unusual: announcing one's virginity in a world obsessed with sexual innuendo. Truth is, LoLo Jones may be too truthful for her own good.
LoLo Jones has made a splash, not only with her athletics but with her photogenic qualities as seen on the covers of Outside magazine, Runners' World magazine and SPIKES magazine. I did not understand the level with which some athletes and managers looked at LoLo's success until I was accosted by several managers over the summer of 2011.
Face it. LoLo Jones is a tremendously gifted athlete who rose above a young life that can be seen as colorful at best and tragic at worst. Having myself spent a couple hours asking Ms. Jones what most of her fans would over two hours, I found a very complicated women, who is at one time savvy, and at another, concerned with who does or does not like her.
But, the issues that challenge LoLo Jones personally, giving her the American patina of smart, talented women overcoming a rough beginning, has also challenged her elite development. Athletes are supposed to be selfish, in fact, in training, they must be to survive. LoLo seems to thrive on the publicity, and the travel can be hard, but she thrives on much of the elite track & field circuit: fly, train, sleep, race, repeat.
Jones recently signed with Paul Doyle, of Doyle Management, a well-respected sports management firm (Ashton Eaton, Bryan Clay, Trey Hardee, Adam Nelson, Janay DeLoach), after having spent much of her career with Robert Wagner, a Swiss athletics manager, who, for many years, put Jones into some of the best fields in Europe. Having a veteran, smart manager in elite track and field is a key to, first, survival and second, growth and sponsorship.
As any agent would tell you, reputation of said agent and athelte may get the athlete in the field, but the athlete would then, have to perform. Jones is a draw, but there are performances that are both good, and yes, not up to her standard. Her mercurial racing is also a key to why she does well when stakes are most high.
LoLo Jones' athleticism is without a doubt. Moving to the bobsled over the past year, LoLo Jones looks like a very good possibility to do well in the Winter Olympics as well. LoLo Jones, like all great athletes, has the desire, the need and the ability to make a third Olympic team. Jones's key is focus, focus, focus.
For a brand like ASICS America, LoLo Jones is a perfect brand spokesperson. Ms. Jones gets social media, is fantastic on TV, revealing just enough to get the interviewer entranced, and keeping the sports media monster, a 24 hour/ hundred outlet world, that needs information constantly.
ASICS America, has seen the benefits of LoLo Jones in the past. With some luck, they could finally have a WC outdoor or Olympic medalist. It would be a story book ending to a sports career that is enduringly American.
2013 will be an interesting year for LoLo Jones. Her bobsledding again showed her athelticism. For LoLo Jones to make the U.S. hurdle squad, the toughest in the world to make, period, no discussion, LoLo will have to be on her A game. She did so in 2012, and just missed a medal in London. It will be fascinating to see how LoLo Jones does in 2013.
And her sponsors, such as ASICS America, should be smiling the entire way.
IRVINE (USA): Asics America announced it re-signed two-time 60 m hurdles indoor World Champion Lolo Jones. „I'm delighted to extend my relationship with ASICS for both my track and field and bobsledding endeavors," said Jones. „The quality of ASICS shoes, apparel and accessories is world-class. I feel I'm in excellent hands with ASICS as they share my passion for competition and continuous improvement." Jones has next meet in her hometown of Des Moines at Drake Relays.