U.S. bobsledders hit the track in unofficial training

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Team USA’s drive for bobsled gold in Sochi began today with unofficial training on the 17-turn Sanki Sliding Center course.

But while the session was a relatively light affair with learning the course’s quirks a bigger priority than attaining pure speed, the women’s side still has some business to take care of as they haven’t yet decided upon driver and push athlete pairings.

Elana Meyers, now a driver after serving as Erin Pac’s brakeman in their bronze-medal run four years ago at Vancouver, said getting that speed out of the Sanki track – the longest in the world and one that boasts three uphill sections – would be the toughest task.

MORE: Learn about Elana Meyers’ origins as a bobsledder

“It’s not a very difficult track to get down, but a very difficult track to be fast on,” Meyers (pictured, with Aja Evans) said to the Associated Press. “That’s the cool thing about these kinds of tracks as a driver…Whoever wins this race will have to have the fastest starts and is going to have to drive their way to the medals. That’s exciting.”

Final pairings for the women are expected to be set by tomorrow night. Meyers, Jamie Greubel and Jazmine Fenlator are the drivers for the U.S., while Evans, Lolo Jones, and Lauryn Williams are the push athletes.

The women’s event begins on Feb. 18, with the medals to be handed out a day later. Bobsled begins as a whole with the men’s two-man on Feb. 16.