WASHINGTON, February 10, 2014 — American bobsledder Lolo Jones caught a cold in Sochi and was put into quarantine until she had recovered.
Jones tweeted on Monday that she was in the quarantine room for cold and flu symptoms but later that morning she posted “Just released … been in quarantine room in Olympic village. Single room was nice just wish I had one of those stray dogs to keep me company.”
Placing ill athletes in quarantine is not a new practice. Since the athletes live in a communal type environment during the Olympics in their village, a virus could pass through the community quickly.
Showing how important staying healthy is to the athletes in a good hearted way, U.S. ice dancer Alex Shibutani tweeted, “@lolojones has been sick so this is as close as I’ll let her get to me. #LOLButSeriously #SochiSelfie #Sochi2014.”
He included a picture of himself in the weight room with Jones in the background a good distance away with a mock upset look on her face.
Not only does a quarantine room help prevent any other athlete from becoming sick, it also allows the athlete who is not feeling well to get peace and quiet that is often in short supply in the competitors residential halls.
Jones came into the public eye as a track and field Olympian who competed in hurdles.
Jones received a large amount of attention during the build up to the 2012 London Olympics partly due to her attractive appearance, and because she revealed in an HBO Sports interview she was a virgin and planned to remain so until marriage.
The 2008 and 2012 Olympics have been a disappointment for Jones who has never won a medal in Olympic competition.
In October 2012, Jones as well as two other members of the U.S. track and field team was invited to try out for the bobsled team. Two of them made the team, Tianna Madison and Lolo Jones.
The invitation could have been sparked by the theory behind the now legendary Jamaican bobsled team. The coach of the “Cool Runnings” team believed the most important quality was a strong athlete; they could be taught how to slide down a mountain.
Although Jones’ actual talent as a bobsledder has been questioned, she and her sled mate Jazmine Fenlator took second place in the World Cup bobsledding competition and first at the World Championships.
The Bobsled Foundation as well as her teammates have defended the selection of Jones to the Sochi Olympic team, saying they believe she is the best choice for the team.
In an ironic twist, the American track star who will be in the top U.S. women’s bobsled won’t be Lolo Jones.
Brakeman Lauryn Williams, a two-time Olympic medalist in track, will race with pilot Elana Meyers when the women’s event begins Feb. 18. Jones will be in the number 3 sled with pilot Jazmine Fenlator.