Team USA hurdler Lori "Lolo" Jones, who celebrated her 30th birthday in London on Sunday, has confirmed an observation made by fans on Twitter that she had indeed mouthed Philippians 4:13 before taking off from the blocks Monday morning in heat one of the women's 100-meter hurdles.
Jones, who came in second at 12.68 seconds behind Australian Sally Pearson's 12.57 Olympics record, advanced to Tuesday's semifinal round with fellow Americans Kellie Wells (12.69) and defending gold medalist Dawn Harper (12.75). Great Britain's Jessica Ennis, a heptathlon participant, pulled out of the hurdles race due to fatigue. The heptathlon includes the 100-meter hurdles among its seven events, which Ennis dominated in 12.54 seconds.
In addition to facing tough competition and memories from her competition-ending tumble during the 2008 Beijing Games, the Christian athlete was also criticized in a Sunday New York Times sports column for allegedly relying on her image rather than athleticism to remain relevant.
Perhaps that's why Jones, who hinted as much during a post-run interview, mouthed the Bible verse before the hurdles race Monday. She told a reporter that it was "hard to be positive all the time with people doubting your abilities."
The observation of Jones quoting Philippians 4:13 before hurdlers took off was apparently first made by sports radio personality and Clemson University sophomore William Qualkinbush on Twitter.
"Just read Lolo Jones' lips pre-race: 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.' #faith," he tweeted at 10:21 a.m.
Jones saw his message and retweeted it about 20 minutes later when another Twitter user, @caldunlap, retweeted it directly to @lolojones that he had also noticed the Olympian mouthing the verse.
Jones' retweet has been retweeted by others on Twitter 267 times and marked as a "favorite" 134 times a little over an hour after Qualkinbush first shared his observation.
Another Twitter user found Jones' mouthing of the Bible verse encouraging, tweeting to the athlete: "AMEN. Faith will get [you] through the storm."
Jones, who has made it known that her aim at the Olympics is not all about a gold medal, will next compete on Tuesday, Aug. 7 in the Women's 100M Hurdles semifinal.
She said on Twitter last month that by participating in the 2012 Summer Games that her goal was "to be an inspiration & honor God."
"I never have prayed to win a gold medal at Olympics and never will. The Lord is my Shepard and I shall not want. May His will be done," Jones added.