Saturday, November 30, 2013

Lolo's One Step Closer To Going To Sochi

I love Lolo Jones and still feel for her when I see that video of her hitting that second to last hurdle on her way to what looked like a legacy cementing gold medal performance in the 100m hurdles final at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and failing to place. 

She gracefully handled that tremendous disappointment and busted her butt to make the Olympic team again in 2012 only to finish in fourth place in London behind her silver and bronze medal winning teammates Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells in the 100m women's hurdle final won in Olympic record time by Australia's Sally Pearson.

At age 31 Lolo Jones is still chasing Olympic gold, although at a different time of year and in a different event.  This is the second year that Jones has competed in bobsled as a push athlete, and she and fellow sprinter Lauryn Williams were recently named to the nine member USA Women's Bobsled team for the upcoming FIBT World Cup event later today in Calgary.  

She has also added 30 pounds to her previously 130 pound frame in order to help her in her quest to make the USA Bobsled team bound for Sochi. 

American bob team Jazmine Fenlator, right, and Lolo Jones climb in to their sled during the United States women's bobsled team trials Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, in Park City, Utah. Fenlator and Jones came in third place. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)Jones and Williams will be joining Emily Azevedo, Katie Eberling, Aja Evans and Kristi Koplin as sled pushers, with Elana Meyers, Jamie Greubel and Jazmine Fenlator serving as drivers.

Depending on the results in this World Cup event the USA could qualify as many as three two woman sleds for Sochi.  The team will also be named in mid to late January, so this is an opportunity for Jones to make one last impression on the powers that be in the US Bobsled and Skeleton Federation before that selection happens. 

In case you're wondering about the prospects for Jones should she make the team of medaling in Sochi, there is a precedent for a track athlete crossing over into the sport and experiencing success in it.

After several failed attempts to make the US Olympic track team Vonetta Flowers at the urging of her husband tried and embraced the sport.  In the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games she and her driver Jill Bakken won gold in the inaugural two women bobsled event.  With the win Flowers made history by becoming the first African descended athlete ever to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics.  Two years later Flowers would earn a bronze medal at the FIBT World Championships at Konigsee, Germany.

During Jones' rookie season on the FIBT World Cup circuit she did medal in three races.  So she does have an excellent chance at making this team, attempting to match Vonetta Flowers and getting that Olympc gold medal that has eluded her so far in the Summer Games.


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