American hurdler Lolo Jones may have become a bobsledder last month when she was one of six push athletes chosen by U.S. coach Todd Hayes for the national team, but that didn’t guarantee her anything but a news cycle and a pat on the back.
On Sunday they made it official.
Jones earned her spot on the sport’s top circuit over the weekend when the USBSF calculated the final race-off data of the six chosen push athletes. She’ll back pilot Jazmine Fenlator in USA-3 during Friday’s women’s World Cup opener in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Continuing the experiment, Hays picked two other track athletes who happen to be bobsled rookies: London 4x100m gold medal sprinter Tianna Madison will push pilot Elana Meyers in USA-1 and University of Illinois shotput and sprint standout Aja Evans will push Jamie Greubel in USA-2.
The USBSF is expected to release the full roster Monday, including men’s and women’s pairings, and while the public excitement will favor Jones, who has been in the spotlight as a talented and attractive 100m hurdler since before the 2008 Beijing Games, it’s Evans who the coach seems most confident in.
“Her upside is tremendous,” Hays, a 2002 Olympic silver medalist, told the Chicago Tribune last month. “By this time next year, Aja will set an entirely new standard for women’s bobsled.”
Still, on the ice as on the track, we expect all eyes to be on Lolo.
The first four U.S. Olympic archers for Rio are known, while Khatuna Lorig will learn in three weeks if she makes her sixth Olympic team.
A full men’s team of 2012 Olympic team silver medalists Brady Ellison and Jake Kaminski and first-time Olympian Zach Garrett earned their spots at the U.S. Olympic Trials that ended Monday.
Mackenzie Brown clinched her first Olympic berth by winning the women’s trials Monday.
The U.S. can send two more women to Rio if it qualifies a full team at a World Cup event in Turkey in three weeks. Those two women would be Hye Youn Park and Lorig.
Lorig, 42, is best known for teaching archery to Jennifer Lawrence before “The Hunger Games.” Lorig also competed in the 1992 Olympics for the Unified Team, the 1996 and 2000 Games for Georgia and the 2008 and 2012 Olympics for the U.S.
Lorig earned team bronze at Barcelona 1992 and finished fifth and fourth individually at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
The U.S. Olympic team alternates are Daniel McLaughlin and La Nola Pritchard.
MORE: Full list of athletes qualified for U.S. Olympic team
Co-Olympic super-G bronze medalist Jan Hudec was granted a request by Alpine Canada to represent the Czech Republic next season after being left off Canada’s national team.
Hudec, 34, wasn’t eligible for Canada’s national team after racing once in 2015-16 due to the latest of his many knee surgeries, according to Alpine Canada.
“It is important to know that we continued to work with Jan after the team selection was announced, and let him know that we were more then willing to find accommodation that would enable him to return to the team,” Alpine Canada said in a press release. “However, at this stage of Jan’s career, he is making a decision that can best meet his desire to fulfill and lead a different way of life, that reaches beyond ski racing.”
The International Ski Federation must still grant Hudec’s request. Hudec was born in the Czech Republic.
At the Sochi Olympics, Hudec shared bronze with Bode Miller in the super-G. He is also the 2007 World Championships downhill silver medalist and a two-time winner of World Cup races.
The 2016-17 Alpine skiing World Cup season is expected to begin in Soelden, Austria, in late October.
MORE: Bode Miller says ‘good likelihood’ of comeback