Four athletes made a move toward their Olympic return, while five inched closer to their Olympic debut, as USA Bobsled & Skeleton named its women’s bobsled national team for the 2017-18 season Saturday evening.
Two-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor and 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Jamie Greubel Poser both had byes onto the national team based on their gold and bronze medals, respectively, from last season’s world championships, while Brittany Reinbolt earned the third women’s pilot spot, sweeping both national team trials races this week in Lake Placid, New York, for her second world cup season as a pilot.
The following six push athletes were named to the national team following national team trials and July’s push championships: Maureen Ajoku, Aja Evans, Lauren Gibbs, Briauna Jones, Kehri Jones and Lolo Jones. All six athletes own world cup and/or world championship medals and will battle it out over the next three months for up to three spots on the Olympic team.
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In her sixth season in the sport, Ajoku is finally making her world cup debut, having earned four North American Cup medals, while the other five brakemen were on last year’s world cup team.
Evans pushed Greubel Poser to bronze at the 2014 Olympics and again at the 2017 world championships after returning earlier that season following a two-year break from the sport.
Gibbs earned world championship bronze with Meyers Taylor in just her second season in the sport and has racked up eight world cup medals in her first three seasons.
In her first season in the sport, Briauna Jones earned world cup gold with Meyers Taylor in January 2017 in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
As the shortest woman in the field, Kehri Jones pushed Meyers Taylor to a start record and world championship gold last season in only her second season in the sport. The duo also won three world cup medals together that season.
Lolo Jones is a three-time Olympian already – twice in track and field and once in bobsled. This marks her fourth bobsled national team. She’s won seven world cup medals in the sport.
At trials, Reinbolt beat the other two sleds competing – driven by Nicole Vogt and Kristi Koplin – with times of 1:55.39 to Koplin’s 1:55.83 on Friday and a 1:59.70 to Vogt’s 1:55.80 on Saturday.
Reinbolt slid with Gibbs on Friday and Lolo Jones Saturday.
Meyers Taylor teamed with three different brakemen at the trials to unofficially break the track’s start record each time, going 5.41 with Ajoku on Friday, then 5.37 with Kehri Jones and 5.35 with Evans Saturday, but because she had a bye and wasn’t officially wasn’t competing, the times don’t count as records.
Greubel Poser teamed with Gibbs on Saturday to beat Meyers Taylor’s down times – 1:58.71 to 1:58.83, while Meyers Taylor won by 0.03 seconds Friday.
The entire USA Bobsled & Skeleton world cup team will be announced Wednesday after national team trials competition concludes with four-man bobsled and men’s and women’s skeleton.
Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.