The Poster Child

Professor’s Painting Picked as Official Olympic Art

The 2012 Olympics triathlon poster will be based on this  painting by Prof. Michael E. Jones.

The 2012 Olympics triathlon poster will be based on this  painting by Prof. Michael E. Jones.

07/01/2011
By Sarah McAdams

Michael E. Jones sure does make a person feel lazy.

The professor of legal studies — who has not only a J.D. from Miami University, but also an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania — is also an accomplished author, district court judge, globally ranked triathlete and painter.

But it’s the last that has garnered his latest honor. Jones was selected to create the image that will serve as the official triathlon poster for the 2012 Olympics in London. 

His original painting will be made into posters and sold throughout the Olympic venue and at the USA Olympic Trials and national championship race. 

“It’s a pretty cool honor,” says Jones, who also had paintings selected for Olympic posters at the 2004 and 2008 games. 

Swam with Spitz

The Pelham, N.H., native’s connection to the Olympics is deep. A teammate of Mark Spitz on the U.S. national swim team in the 1970s, Jones made it to the Olympic Trials in 1972.

“Mark and I swam the same freestyle event; he was more than a tiny bit faster,” Jones laughs. “I never made it to the games. I smelled it, I tasted it — but I never went.”

It didn’t stop him from competing, though. He went on to win national and world open-water swim championships. He also spent years racing as an elite triathlete and aquathlete (run-swim-run). 

“Again, I won a bunch of national and world championships and set a host of world and national records,” he says. 

Jones now heads the USA Olympic Aquathlon Commission, and will lead a team of U.S. athletes to the International Triathlon Union world aquathlon championships in Beijing later this year — were he’ll also compete as a masters’ athlete seeking to defend his own world championship.

Sports, Entertainment and Law

All of his interests connect well with his teaching at UMass Lowell — sports, entertainment and art law.

When he’s not teaching, Jones, who married Christine Lovely last summer, spends much of his time working on his art with his wife, who writes poetry to complement his paintings. The two had a joint exhibit at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, which captured the hidden beauty of the area’s Province Lands. The exhibit opened on their wedding day.

The pair also exhibited recently at the Tsongas Gallery at Walden Pond and at the Whistler House Museum in Lowell (where Jones also spends time with his students as part of a service-learning grant intended to bridge law and the art community).

Jones says he appreciates his life every day.

“Not all first dreams come true,” he says. “I’m completely happy with who I am and how things turned out. So many athletes live in the past. I respect and honor the past — but I don’t want to live in it.

“After all, I made the Olympic games, just in a different way.”