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 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the final competition to determine the Pyeongchang Olympic team, will be in San Jose, California, at the SAP Center, concluding Jan. 7.
It appears to be the earliest the U.S. Figure Skating Championships will end in an Olympic year in at least 50 years.
The competition will be broadcast live on NBC and streamed live on Icenetwork.com.
San Jose previously hosted the U.S. Championships in 1996 and 2012, but it has never hosted in an Olympic year.
Sochi Olympian Polina Edmunds is from San Jose and figures to receive a boost of crowd support. Edmunds, 18, begins classes at nearby Santa Clara University next month.
The January 2017 U.S. Championships will be in Kansas City. The international figure skating season starts next month, with Skate America kicking off the Grand Prix season in October.
Recent Nationals host cities in Olympic years were Boston in 2014 and Spokane, Washington, in 2010.
MORE: Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold headline Skate America
Olympic coaches don’t receive gold medals. Fiji Olympic men’s rugby coach Ben Ryan may have gotten something better anyway.
Ryan’s reward for guiding Fiji to its first Olympic medal in any sport — gold in rugby sevens’ Olympic debut — included three acres of land in Fiji and a new name, Ratu Peni Raiyani Latianara, according to Fijian reports.
Ryan, a London native, is stepping down as coach of the Fijian team. The 44-year-old coached the team for three years after leading the England national sevens team for six years.
MORE: Fiji wins nation’s first Olympic medal