Track star Lolo Jones says she was a “professional shoplifter” by sixth grade as her family faced financial hurdles while she was growing up in Des Moines.
Today the 2008 Olympian is talking about struggles during her childhood and a different challenge she’s faced as an adult — choosing to remain a virgin until marriage.
Jones, who competes in the women’s 100-meter hurdles, described living in the basement of a Salvation Army during the ESPN documentary about her life that was broadcast Monday night.
“I definitely would say, by sixth grade, I was a professional shoplifter — and not because I wanted to. I’m not going out to shoplift earrings or clothes or shoes like the average teenager.
“I was shoplifting frozen dinners at a grocery store. I could shoplift four frozen dinners, easily.”
Jones said living in the Salvation Army caused her embarrassment and her family’s use of food stamps for staples such as cheese and beans created anxiety that a friend would discover her as they shopped. Challenging moments like those, Jones contended, also shaped an almost unequaled will to succeed — no matter the odds.
On Tuesday night, HBO’s “Real Sports” outlines Jones’ world on and off the track, including her struggles to remain a virgin.
A clip of the HBO piece was posted on the show’s website Monday. The 29-year-old Jones discussed her dating challenges.
“It’s just something, a gift that I want to give to my husband,” Jones said. “But please, understand, this journey has been hard.
“If there’s virgins out there, I’m going to let them know, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life — harder than training for the Olympics, harder than graduating from college, has been to stay a virgin before marriage.”
Jones explained that she’s dabbled in a range of online dating services and specifically uses social media tool Twitter in an effort to find a prospective boyfriend.
It was on Twitter earlier this year that Jones announced to her thousands of followers that she’s a virgin.
“I’ve been tempted,” Jones said in the HBO piece. “I’ve had guys tell me, ‘You know, if you have sex, it will help you run faster.’ “
SOURCE: Bryce Miller, Des Moines Register