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.
“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 Meyers, Jamie Greubel and Jazmine Fenlator — and five push athletes — three-time Olympic sprinter Lauryn Williams, Aja Evans, Katie Eberling, Emily 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.”
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.