As a three-time Olympian in two different sports, powerhouse athlete Lolo Jones knows what it takes to be a competitor. But now the 32-year-old hurdler and bobsled star will have to face a new type of competition on the dance floor. Jones is the latest celebrity to join the 19th season of Dancing with the Stars, premiering tonight on ABC.
How will she fare with the tango and two-step? We went one-on-one to get the inside scoop on how well she can bust a move (she admits she has two left feet), how her dance training compares to her sports prep, and what it would mean to win the mirror ball. One thing’s for sure: We can’t wait to see her jitterbug and jive.
Shape: Congrats on the new gig for Dancing with the Stars! What are you most looking forward to this season?
Lolo Jones [LJ]: I’m looking forward to learning how to be sexy. I'm used to being athletic and strong. But sexy is something different. I’m most nervous about competing in high heels.
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Shape: Do you think your experience with track and field or bobsledding will help give you an edge in competition for the show?
LJ: Being an athlete will help me with rebounding physically every day but I'm not used to learning new material every day like the actors are used to. We all come in with some strength and some weaknesses.
Shape: Do you think DWTS will help you with your sports in any way?
LJ: It's either going to help me lose those extra five pounds left from bobsled or maybe make me really tired. Who knows, maybe it will help with my rhythm over the hurdles!
Shape: When you were making the transition from hurdler to bobsledder, you changed up your diet to put on more weight. How is your diet changing for DWTS and what are your goals fitness-wise for the show?
LJ: Generally I'm eating the same diet as track season, although I might need to cut out the couple extra desserts with those tiny costumes. I eat a lot of chicken and seafood, oatmeal, and veggies.
Shape: We know you get to do a lot of cool stuff partnered with Red Bull. Tell us about it.
LJ: I started working with them before the London Olympics and they helped me with some really high tech sports performance analysis and provided support beyond what I could have imagined. I get to do so much fun stuff with them. This summer I went to the Beyoncé/Jay Z “On The Run” tour with NBA star Anthony Davis and Louie Vito.
Shape: What would a mirror ball trophy mean to you?
LJ: It will be a way to push myself and overcome the trauma of a high school prom date not wanting to dance with me!
Shape: Oh no! Is there a particular kind of dance that really needs improvement, then?
LJ: I did the show because I don't know how to dance besides dancing at the club. As far as types of dances that I prefer, I like the fast ones! The slow ones are going to be tough. I haven't slow danced with a boy since—well, maybe that prom date.