Iowa native Lolo Jones secured her spot in the 100-meter hurdles at the London Olympics Saturday, but not before a few close calls.
Lolo had a sluggish start Friday, finishing 15th out of a possible 21 qualifiers for Saturday’s semifinals with a time of 13:01.
In the first race on Saturday afternoon, Lolo finished with the 5th fastest time of 8 finalists.
She had to finish in the top three Saturday night to return to the Olympics, and she did. Lolo finished behind defending Olympic champion Dawn Harper and 2011 U.S. champion Kellie Wells.
Another Des Moines native stamped her ticket earlier this month. Miranda Leek, 19, qualified in Woman’s Archery.
“She’s really nice. She’s a great shooter too,” says 11-year-old Madison Fees.
“I want to be just like her,” says 12-year-old sister Adrianna Fees. “I want to go to the Olympics.”
Leek, a 2011 Dowling grad, got her start at Archery Field and Sports in Altoona.
“I think she was 8 or 9 years old that I felt that someday she was going to go to the Olympics,” says Bryan Corley.
Corley watched her become one of the best shooters in the country and says it’s nice to be right.
“It is. I don’t get to say I told you so very often,” he says.
“There’s so much talent at the Olympics, it’s unbelievable and for her to be a part of that, I don’t think it’s sunk into her even,” says father Scott Leek.
Miranda shoots at a target 70 meters away. That’s about three-quarters of a football field and she’s aiming at an area about the size of a cell phone.
“It takes something special to do what she’s done. She’s worked very, very hard for it and she’s not stopped. She’s kept going. She’s hit adversities, hit those walls and kept pushing through them,” said her Dad.
Today, her fans who can’t make it to London held an Olympic ceremony of their own. They’re trying to raise money so her father and grandmother can travel to London to watch her in person.
“It just gave me goosebumps. It’s hard to even describe. That’s how proud we are of her,” says Corley.
“It’s magical to watch her shoot. I mean she’s better than I could ever think of being. It’s amazing how good she is,” says Scott Leek.
(thanks to our sister station WHO-TV for these reports)