Event: 100m Hurdles
Hails From: Des Moines, Iowa
Why She's A Big Deal: After hitting the second-to-last hurdle in Beijing and winding up in seventh place, Lolo discovered it wasn't just a poorly timed accident: She was actually suffering from a spinal problem hindering her bodily awareness. The hurdler underwent a risky spinal cord surgery this past August to fix the issue and is on her way back to reclaiming the gold many have said she deserves.
Could Be The Next: Michael Johnson. She's a crowd favorite, and like him, will be one of the main reasons we'll all be glued to the track this Olympic season.
Bet You'll Never Guess That: She's overcome as many obstacles in life as she has hurdles. When her family moved during high school to a town that had no track, Lolo stayed behind in Des Moines and lived with four different families to continue chasing her dream. That determination didn't fail her in 2004, when after failing to qualify for the Athens Games, she scrimped, saved, and worked odd jobs to afford to continue competing — a move that got her where she is today.
Photo: Courtesy of FloraGLO Lutein