Following in the footsteps of Lolo Jones (and the many that came before her) Australian hurdling world champ Jana Pittman is hopping in a bobsled and aiming for the Sochi Winter Games.
“It’s a very different sport,” Pittman told the local media at her workout Wednesday. “I have the physical attributes, it’s just now whether I can put it together in the split second we take off.”
She’ll join two-time Olympian Astrid Radjenovic in Australia’s two-woman sled.
“Astrid is only a tenth, two-tenths of a second off the leaders. So she has been looking for someone with a lot of speed and power for a while,” Pittman said. “If we can train well, I am committed to it 100 percent. Hopefully we can become top six at the Olympics.”
Pittman was the 400m hurdles world champ in 2003 and 2007, but injuries kept her from both the Beijing and London Olympics. Much like Jones, who never made an Olympic podium, Pittman has been heartbroken by her failures, but is excited by the new sport.
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