Lolo Jones

Lolo Jones on USA-1 for Winterberg Bobsled World Cup

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Both Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams were chosen as push athletes for this weekend’s bobsled World Cup stop in Winterberg, Germany.

Jones, the two-time Olympic hurdler, will be in the top U.S. sled with World Cup leader Elana Meyers for the first time this season.

The No. 2 U.S. sled will feature a Jamie GreubelAja Evans combo.

Williams, the three-time Olympic sprinter, is with Jazmine Fenlator in the third American sled.

The U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation has been alternating pairings this season to determine which driver and push athlete teams mesh the best. Winterberg is the fourth World Cup event.

Evans and Katie Eberling came into the season favored for two of the likely three push athlete spots at the Sochi Olympics. The U.S. Olympic Team will be chosen after a World Cup stop in Igls, Austria, that concludes Jan. 19.

Jones and Emily Azevedo were thought to be vying for the third spot, but Williams has entered the picture in her rookie season, too.

Don’t read too much into Jones pairing with Meyers for Sunday, but it’s certainly more promising for her Olympic selection chances than if she was sitting out. Ditto for all of the push athletes.

On the men’s side, the next three World Cup events before the U.S. Olympic Team is named will be a proving ground for reigning Olympic four-man champion Steven Holcomb.

Holcomb dominated the North American World Cup circuit, winning all seven races over two- and four-man competition. He can cement his status as Olympic gold-medal favorite with more podium finishes in Europe, where he hasn’t won a World Cup or World Championships race in nearly four years.

Holcomb begins with a two-man competition on Friday. Universal Sports will provide coverage all weekend.

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Mikaela Shiffrin wrestles with doubt in seconds before World Cup downhill debut

Mikaela Shiffrin, of the United States, skis during the third training run for the World Cup women's downhill ski race in Lake Louise, Alberta, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)
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After a momentary panic in the start house, Mikaela Shiffrin raced to a tie for 18th in the first downhill of her World Cup career in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Shiffrin, the youngest Olympic slalom champion who has also won a World Cup giant slalom, has been slowly adding the speed events of super-G and downhill to her repertoire the last two seasons.

“It wasn’t bad,” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com. “I certainly didn’t risk anything crazy.”

Her result Friday, 1.99 seconds behind Slovenian winner Ilka Stuhec, came after Shiffrin was 18th, 24th and 30th fastest in downhill training runs the previous three days. Shiffrin also had to wait several minutes in the start house as the racer before her crashed (video here).

“That was just a bummer,” Shiffrin said, according to the Denver Post. “I was like, ‘Just don’t let it affect you,’ but being up there for 10 minutes, like, ‘What happened? What’s taking them so long? What’s going on? Is she hurt?’

“Then I started doubting myself, like my technique going off the jumps, which is actually pretty good. I was going back and forth between, ‘Should I even be doing this? Maybe I just should pull out because I don’t want to kill myself.’ Then I’m like, ‘You’re absolutely fine, you haven’t felt sketched out a single time on this track in the past three days, so stick with that. You don’t have to go crazy.'”

“To be fast in speed there certainly needs to be a certain level of risk, and I know that, but now, if [giant slalom] and slalom are my main priority this season, I don’t need to be going crazy in a downhill with flat light and after I got iced [waiting so long],” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com.

Stuhec won Friday’s race by .22 of a second over Italian Sofia Goggia. Swede Kajsa Kling was third.

A race replay can be seen here. Full results are here.

Lindsey Vonn, owner of a record 18 wins at Lake Louise, is missing the annual World Cup stop in Alberta due to a broken arm from a November crash. Vonn had raced at Lake Louise each of the previous 15 seasons.

Last season, Shiffrin made her World Cup debut in the super-G at Lake Louise and finished 15th.

The women have another downhill Saturday and a super-G on Sunday in Lake Louise, both streaming live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app (schedule here).

MORE: Vonn eyes January return from her most painful injury

High-speed crash at World Cup downhill in Lake Louise (video)

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Swiss Joana Haehlen crashed into netting at high speed during a World Cup downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Haehlen, 24, lost her right ski after landing from a jump and sped uncontrollably off course. She braced for impact, slammed into red netting and was turned around before landing with neither of her skis still attached.

She lay on the snow while being attended to and eventually skied down the mountain on her own.

It caused a 10-minute delay before the next skier, American Mikaela Shiffrin, could take her run.

VIDEO: Vonn details the most painful injury of her career