There are two members of Team USA who, although they will be making their first trip to the Winter Games, are no Olympic rookies. Both made their Olympic debuts in the summer Games in track & field. Lolo Jones is an Olympic hurdler who competed in both 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London. Lauryn Williams, meanwhile, is a sprinter who has competed in 2004, 2008 and 2012. Both Jones and Williams will be racing on different tracks — icy ones — in the sport of bobsled in Sochi.
When they hit the bobsled track they will become the ninth and 10th American athletes to compete in both the winter and summer Games.
Williams won a gold medal as a member of the 4x100-meter relay during the London 2012 Olympic Games and earned a silver medal in the 100-meter dash in Athens in 2004. Should Williams return from Sochi with a medal, she would be only the second American Olympian to win medals in both the winter and summer Games. Eddie Eagan was the last to do so when he earned a gold medal in boxing in 1920 and then earned another gold medal in bobsled in 1932.
Jones, meanwhile, was considered a top medal contender in the 100-meter hurdles in Beijing, but she clipped the second-to-last hurdle and finished seventh, and in London she wound up fourth. Bobsled has become her salvation from all of the frustration she has found in the summer heat.
Once news of the two making the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team became official, Jones posted a message to fans on Facebook. This is part of it:
“It didn't make sense in 08 or 12 but who would have thought those mishaps would put me on the path to be a Winter Olympian. Had I not hit a hurdle in Beijing I would not have tried to go to London to redeem myself. Had I not got fourth in London I would not have tried to find another way to accomplish the dream.
Bobsled was my fresh start.
Bobsled made me stronger.
Bobsled made me rely on faith.
I push a bobsled but bobsled pushed me to never give up on my dreams.
I am honored and excited to say I am on the 2014 Winter Olympic Team.
Thank you to all the fans who have encouraged me to never give up.”
Amy Rosewater is a freelance writer and editor for TeamUSA.org. A former sports reporter for The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, she has covered two Olympic Games and two Olympic Winter Games. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today.