Sochi Olympics: USA Bobsled Athletes Prevail in their Second Choice
With just days of competition left in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, many eyes have been on the Sanki Sliding Center to see which athletes will prevail in making their way to the podium in the two-man bobsled events, particularly which of the three USA Bobsled teams. Especially intriguing is the background of the women who make up these teams. All six of the women comprising the three USA teams competed at high levels before this, and it was not in bobsled.
Ever since the 1993 movie “Cool Runnings” was released, the sport of bobsled has gained more and more interest in the US. Based on the true story of the first Jamaican bobsled team to reach the Winter Olympics in Calgary in 1988, coach Irving Blitzer, former USA bobsledder, took four Jamaican sprinters and proved to the world what they could do.
Now, sixteen years later, the USA Women’s Bobsled team looks to do the same thing.
Currently sitting in first place after the first two runs, USA holds the lead with former George Washington University short stop Elana Meyers and three-time Olympic sprinter Lauryn Williams. Williams who currently boasts a gold medal in the 4x100m relays from the Summer Olympic Games in London 2012, looks to make history by becoming only the second athlete, and first woman to win an Olympic gold medal in the both the Winter and Summer games.
Not far behind Meyers and Williams is another US team made up of extraordinary athletes. Currently in bronze medal position is former Cornell University track athlete Jamie Greubel and former University of Illinois sprinter Aja Evans. Evans comes from a very athletic background. Her cousin Gary Matthews Jr. spending twelve years in Major League Baseball, uncle Gary “Sarge” Matthews a one-time MLB All-Star, and more recently her brother Fred Evans who is a defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings. Regardless of these strong accomplishments among her family, her brother insists it’s her who has accomplished the most.
“By far, she’s the top,” said Fred Evans, according to the Chicago Tribune. “The Olympics are something special to the entire world. … I love what I do and I’m blessed to be an NFL athlete, but my sister is an Olympian.”
The final USA women’s two-man bobsled team is made up of Rider University track athlete, Jazmine Fenlator, and two-time Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones. Many people recall the heartbreak of Jones who was favored to win the 100m hurdles in Beijing in 2008 when she clipped the ninth hurdle and ended up in seventh place. Not ready to give up her dreams of an Olympic medal, Jones has become the brakeman for Fenlator. Jones and Fenlator currently sit in eleventh place halfway through the competition. This leaves them with a lot of making up to do, but don’t count out these athletes yet!
The final two heats will take place today, February 19th and many Americans will look on to see if Olympic history will be made by Lauryn Williams, if Aja Evans can bring an Olympic medal home to her already athletically successful family, or if Jazmine Fenlator and Lolo Jones can pull off a major comeback and possibly join their teammate on the podium.