A total of 56 athletes, including crossover Olympic track stars Tyson Gay, Ryan Bailey and Lolo Jones, will participate in the 2016 USA Bobsled National Push Championships, powered by BMW, this week in at the Ice House in Calgary, Alberta.
Push championships are a mandatory step for any athlete hoping to compete on the U.S. national team during the 2016-17 season, which will be a prelude to the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
A member of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Bobsled Team, Jones finished 11th in Sochi, Russia with driver Jazmine Fenlator and is a three-time Olympian, having competed in the 100-meter hurdles at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games. Gay, who competed in the past three summer editions of the Games, is the current American-record holder in the 100-meter. He has entered the push championships after only a handful of days’ experience pushing a sled.
Bailey punched his ticket into the national push championships by handily winning the preliminary competition. A member of the 2012 Olympic team, he was fifth in the 100-meter.
Reigning national push champion Hakeem Adbul-Saboor and two-time world cup medalist Carlo Valdes are the elite bobsledders that will test Gay and Bailey as they attempt to cross over into winter sports competition.
Aja Evans, a bronze medalist with driver Jamie Greubel Poser at the Sochi 2014 Games, joins her Olympic teammate Jones. Evans is making her return to the sport, having not competed since 2014. The competitive women’s field also includes defending push champion Lauren Gibbs and Cherrelle Garrett, who won the 2015 world title with Elana Meyers Taylor. Briauna Jones, a former track athlete at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte who won last month’s preliminary competition to claim a spot in Calgary, is also a strong contender for the title.