TODAY | May 24, 2012
>>> back now at 8:10 with the olympics just 64 days away, athletes around the world are busy training for their shot at gold including u.s. track and field star lolo jones . but she's also pursuing something else, what she refers to as her toughest goal yet. savannah's here with more on that.
>> good morning, ann . the gold medal is the pinnacle of hard work, sacrifice and achievement. but lolo jones says her biggest victory has nothing to do with that. the 29-year-old says she's committed to remaining a virgin until she gets married.
>> reporter: lori "lolo" jones garnered international attention as a standout hurdler during the 2008 olympic games . she was favored to win the 100-meter hurdles in beijing until she tripped and finished in seventh place. but her ultimate goal, to remain a virgin until marriage.
>> it's just a gift that i want to give to my husband.
>> reporter: jones is getting a lot of attention for her comments during an interview with hbo's " real sports with bryant gumbel ." she spoke to mary carillo about her tough childhood, her beijing disappointment and her virgin vow.
>> please understand, this journey has been hard. i'm not -- there's virgins out there, i'm going to let you 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.
>> reporter: jones says she has been unlucky finding a boyfriend and took to twitter to say she knows why she cannot find a man willing to commit, tweeting, "twitter overload. yes, i'm a virgin . number one reason why i'm single because guys deuce out when i won't put out. i do so to honor god and future husband." jones is not the only high-profile athlete who has publicly shared a vow to abstain from premarital sex . new york jets' quarterback tim tebow has also taken a virgin vow because of his faith. as for jones , she says remaining a virgin is a huge challenge, but she won't fall for one-liners.
>> i've been tempted. i've had guys tell me, they're, like, hey, you know if you have sex, it will help you run faster.
>> oh, the old let's have sex scam.
>> you didn't buy it, huh?
>> no, not even the olympics . i do want this gold medal , but not that bad. not yet. i'd like to be married. if you marry me, then yeah.
>> jones hopes to qualify for the u.s. olympic team next month and then go for the gold in london . ann , back to you.
>> all right, savannah, thank you. mary carillo who conducted that interview with lolo will be hosting nbc's late-night olympic coverage in london . good morning.
>> very nice to see you.
>> there is nothing wrong with remaining a virgin for as long as you want to for reasons of your own. did she explain why she tweeted this?
>> it's funny because the longtime host of the "today" show is the host of " real sports ." we sat down, he said to me, how did you even go there? she tweeted it. to you? i don't think he's a big twitter guy. no, no. this is something she puts out there. and she admits she allows that when you're 22 years old, 23, 24, people sort of say wow, that's something. but, you know, now she's grabbing 30. i think a lot of this has to do with the fact, ann , that she came from a very tough childhood. a really tough -- her parents were never married. her father spent more than half his life in prison . you know, she came from abject poverty. she was often homeless. she is trying to create a world for herself that is much more of sort of a fairy-tale lifestyle. and if she does win, because she should have won gold this beijing , she could have won gold, if she wins in london , she qualifies and get there, she will be a cinderella story .
>> because it was the story that we just heard, she sort of wasn't able to -- but she's also been plagued by major injuries. she's had back surgery, isn't that right? last summer?
>> serious back surgery last summer, and she's had a nagging hamstring injury that's slowed her down a little bit this season. but boy, can she do this. i mean, this is an amazing event. the 100-meter -- those hurdles come at you in a hurry. there's ten hurdles. she kicked her leg on the ninth of ten, which caused her the gold. but it is the only event she's in. this is the third time she's tried to distinguish herself at the olympic games . so she has been practicing 12 years for 12 seconds.
>> so she's not qualified yet for the london olympics .
>> not yet.
>> you think she will?
>> i hope so. i really like her. and she is -- it's not -- obviously, this is blown up because she is so attractive.
>> she's gorgeous! she's multiracial, by the way.
>> she's rocking the abs. her dad is african-american and native american indian . her mom has got norwegian blood and german blood, so she's doing the whole scandinavian situation. she's got mocha skin, piercing green eyes . but more than that, her personality is so attractive. when she lost it here in beijing , she -- and she showed so much poise and so much grace and dignity, she didn't duck one question, you know. she went into the media. she discussed it all. she's not -- she wasn't, you know, she just took it head on. and that's very likeable, too. that's as attractive as the rest of her.
>> we'll see what happens on many fronts regarding her life.
>> no kidding. no kidding. and if she does qualify, i'm guessing nbc will probably point a couple of cameras at her in london .
>> in fact, her twitter followers have as well.
>> you can imagine.
>> mary carillo , thank you so much.
>> and you can catch mary's full interview with lolo jones this month on hbo's " real sports with bryant gumbel ." again,