Lolo Jones

Lolo Jones one step closer to Olympics; U.S. Bobsled National Team named

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Lolo Jones is on the path to the Sochi Olympics, but so are five other bobsled push athletes seeking one of a likely three spots on the U.S. Olympic Team.

Jones, the two-time Olympic hurdler, was named to the U.S. Bobsled National Team on Saturday following the final selection race in Park City, Utah, on Friday night.

Jones, 31, was expected to be named to the national team as she’s among the top three or four contenders to make the Sochi Olympics. The national team members will compete on the World Cup circuit, beginning Nov. 30 in Calgary, to earn the U.S. spots in Sochi.

The U.S. Olympic Team is expected to be named in mid-to-late January.

Lolo Jones wants to try another Winter Olympic sport

“Last year I was just soaking everything in,” Jones said, according to The Associated Press. “It was an adventure, it was fun, it was nothing really on the line for me. It was just kind of an escape and there were no expectations. So now coming into my second year, they expect me to be more knowledgeable and more of a leader.”

Joining Jones on the national team are three drivers — 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Elana MeyersJamie Greubel and Jazmine Fenlator — and five push athletes — three-time Olympic sprinter Lauryn WilliamsAja EvansKatie EberlingEmily Azevedo and Army soldier-athlete Kristi Koplin.

Meyers, Greubel and Fenlator were also the top three U.S. drivers last season and are favorites to make up the U.S. Olympic Team, should the U.S. qualify three two-woman sleds for Sochi.

“Jazmine, Elana and I all started driving around the same time so we have that kind of friendly rivalry and I think it works really well for us,” Greubel said, according to the AP. “We work together and shake each other’s hands at the end of the day, no matter who’s on top. I really respect the other girls that are drivers on the team. They definitely help push me to be a better athlete.”

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Evans and Eberling are considered favorites to make the Olympic team as push athletes. Azevedo and Jones were also on the national team last year and may be battling for that third and final spot.

A key will be which push athletes are paired with the three drivers at World Cup events.

“This is the fastest and most prepared group of athletes we’ve ever seen,” Darrin Steele, U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Federation CEO, said in a press release. “It was difficult to narrow the women’s push field to six, and it will be even more challenging to select the top three for the Olympic team in a few months. The hard work and dedication has paid off and I couldn’t be more proud of all these athletes.”

The men’s bobsled national team, led by 2010 Olympic champion Steve Holcomb, is expected to be announced on Sunday morning.

Video: The art of bobsledding

Olympic flame arrives in Brazil (video)

Brazil Olympic flame
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BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — The Brazilian torch relay for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics has kicked off with volleyball player Fabiana Claudino running the first leg after the torch was ignited by embattled President Dilma Rousseff.

Rousseff says “Brazil is ready to host the most successful Olympics in history.”

The Olympic flame arrived in a lantern on a flight from Switzerland a few hours earlier and was taken to the Planalto presidential palace.

The three-month relay across Brazil, ending at the opening ceremony on Aug. 5 at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio, will involve 329 cities and 12,000 torchbearers. Rio organizers hope it will build enthusiasm for the games, which has lagged as Brazil battles bribery and corruption scandals and its deepest recession in decades.

The start of the relay comes just a week before the Brazilian senate is expected to suspend Rousseff for six months as it considers her impeachment.

MORE: Rio Olympic flame will live downtown — not in stadium

Michael Phelps left with one meet before Olympic Trials

Michael Phelps
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Michael Phelps could face his lightest-ever competition run-up to an Olympic Trials after opting not to swim at a meet in Atlanta next week.

Last week, Phelps noted one other scheduled meet before the U.S. Olympic Trials (June 26-July 3). That’s in Austin, Texas, from June 3-5.

In his previous four Olympic cycles, Phelps swam at least two meets in the final two months before the Olympic Trials, according to USA Swimming statistics.

Phelps’ training plan in May and June will be impacted by the impending birth of his first child. Fiancée Nicole Johnson is 36 weeks pregnant, according to her Instagram.

Without Phelps, the Atlanta meet is expected to include five-time 2015 World champion Katie Ledecky, 12-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin, Olympic 100m free champion Nathan Adrian and rising sprint freestyler Caeleb Dressel.

VIDEO: Phelps’ interview with Matt Lauer