Canadian luge racer Arianne Jones will be sporting a new hairdo this World Cup season.
Jones had about a foot chopped off her waist-length hair Thursday to raise money for Kids Cancer Care. The barbers shearing her flowing locks included two young cancer survivors.
''I've had long hair my whole life,'' Jones said in an interview. "I've never had short hair before.
"This will be a big change for me. I will have to learn how to do my hair all over again.''
It didn't take the 22-year-old Calgary resident long to get a taste for life with her new bouffant. The difference was noticeable the minute she pulled on her helmet for a run down the track at Calgary's Canada's Olympic Park.
"I put it on and it was massive on my head because I'm used to wrapping my hair in a certain way so everything fits nicely,'' said Jones, who leaves for Russia Friday for international training week on the Olympic track in Sochi.
''I actually had to go before all our equipment left for Russia (and) get a new helmet so it would fit when I got over there.''
The idea to change her coiffure came to Jones at a World Cup race last fall in Calgary. She was excited about racing at home before friends and family but made a mistake and crashed.
''I was really disappointed in that result,'' she said. "It wasn't a great day for me. It was a bit of a low. I was feeling upset.''
Jones went to finish line to cheer on teammate Alex Gough, who won the race. While there she spoke with Sam Judson, a 12-year-old youth luge athlete. Both women are small, so Jones sometimes passes on equipment to Judson. While talking, Jones learned that Judson had her hair cut to raise money for Kids Cancer Care.
"I was really inspired by that and how brave she was to make that decision,'' said Jones. "Over the next few days, when everything settled, it put everything into perspective for me.
"I was fighting for the ups and downs of my season. But there are kids out there fighting for their lives and they are fighting the ups and down of their treatments. I wanted to use the ability of being an athlete to get some exposure for these amazing charities and do something to give back to them. Unfortunately, now a days you are probably hardpressed to find someone who doesn't know someone close to them who hasn't dealt with cancer.''
Judson was one of the barbers who cut Jones' hair. She was joined by Chris Rowell, a 12-year-old cancer survivor who now also races luge, and Samantha Andres, who lost a leg to the disease.
Jones donated her hair to Angel Hair for Kids who provides wigs at no cost to children who lose their hair to cancer and other diseases. She also raised $2,000 for Kids Cancer Care.
Anyone still wishing to make a donation can visit her webpage at www.jonesluge.ca.
The pint-sized Jones _ she stands five-foot-four and weighs 130 pounds _ had six top-10 finishes in her second on the World Cup last year. Her career best is a sixth in Winterberg, Germany. She will be one of the Canadian lugers looking for a podium finish at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.
The passion that burns inside Jones to compete at the Olympics was stoked even more by her hair trim.
"I think it's pretty cool having this today. It was really inspirational meeting these kids,'' Jones said. "I am going to take their passion for life with me throughout the season.''