IGLS, Austria - The U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Federation (USBSF) today announced the six drivers and nine push athletes who will represent the United States in the women’s and men’s bobsled events at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. All U.S. Olympic Team nominations are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
"This is the deepest field of push athletes we've ever had,” said USBSF CEO Darrin Steele. “We knew heading into the season that the Olympic selection was going to be extremely difficult. It's a good problem to have, but it meant that some outstanding athletes would not make the Olympic Team."
A star-studded line-up of six athletes have been nominated to the women’s bobsled team. Jamie Greubel (Newtown, Pa.), Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.) and Jazmine Fenlator (Wayne, N.J.) earned their positions as the top three ranked U.S. pilots in international standings. Greubel has claimed five World Cup medals, including today’s win, and currently leads the U.S. women in points as the second ranked driver in the world. Meyers has collected six medals so far this season, two of them gold, and is just one point behind Greubel in world ranking. Fenlator earned one medal to-date this season and is ranked seventh, putting all three U.S. pilots in the top 10 international standings.
Aja Evans (Chicago, Ill.), Lauryn Williams (Miami, Fla.) and Lolo Jones (Des Moines, Iowa) have been nominated as the women’s push athletes. Driver and push athlete combinations will be decided at a later date. Evans proved herself as a contender after pushing Meyers to a silver medal on the 2014 Olympic track in Sochi’s test event last season, and has earned four medals this season. Williams, a three-time Olympic sprinter and 2012 100-meter relay Olympic gold medalist, turned heads when she finished third in the 2013 U.S. National Push Championships after just three days of training, and she’s claimed three medals in the four competitions she’s entered. Jones, a two-time Olympic hurdler and two-time World Indoor Champion, started the sport last season and made a case for her Winter Olympic berth with two medal performances this season. Williams and Jones are only the ninth Americans to compete in both the Olympic Summer and Winter Games.
The U.S. women have won a medal in every Olympic Winter Games since the sport was introduced in 2002. Jill Bakken and Vonetta Flowers were victorious in 2002, Shauna Rohbock and Valerie Fleming claimed silver in 2006, and Erin Pac and Meyers earned bronze in 2010. The women collectively earned 12 medals in the first seven World Cup races and are on track to continue the program’s history of success.
A mix of veterans and first-time Olympians makes up the men’s bobsled roster. Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) and Nick Cunningham (Monterery, Calif.) will pilot the two sleds entered into the 2014 Olympic four-man race, while Holcomb, Cunningham and Cory Butner (Yucapia, Calif.) will drive the three sleds entered into the two-man event. Holcomb leads in combined and two-man international standings, and he’s ranked third in four-man. Cunningham is 12th in combined standings, sixth in two-man and 14th in four-man. Butner is 19th combined, fifth in two-man and just missed qualifying in four-man after finishing 19th in standings.
Holcomb and his seasoned push crew of Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.), Steve Langton and Chris Fogt (Alpine, Utah) have been officially named as USA-1. Holcomb snapped a 62-year American gold medal drought in four-man bobsled after winning the 2010 race in Vancouver, Canada. After claiming both the four-man and two-man bobsled World Championship titles in 2012, Holcomb emerged as a favorite to medal in both Olympic events. If Holcomb succeeds in winning the two-man race, he will be the first Americans to win gold in the event since 1936. Tomasevicz is a member of Holcomb’s Olympic and World Championship winning four-man crew. Langton helped push Holcomb to both 2012 World Championship titles, and Fogt is the newest member to join the squad.
Cunningham earned his position to drive sleds in both the four-man and two-man competitions. Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas), Johnny Quinn (McKinney, Texas) and Dallas Robinson (Georgetown, Ky.) have been selected to push Cunningham’s four-man sled.
The two-man bobsled brakeman will be selected from the pool of six push athletes named to the four-man squads.
Nations were allocated Olympic quotas based on rank in international points following seven competitions during the 2013-2014 season. The U.S. was one of three nations that qualified to enter the maximum of three teams in men’s two-man bobsled competition, and one of only two nations to qualify the maximum of three sleds in the women’s race. The U.S. was not one of the top three nations in four-man bobsled standings and is limited to two crews.
A number of components were considered when selecting the 2014 U.S. Olympic Bobsled Team push athletes, including combine test and U.S. National Push Championship results, U.S. National Team Trials finishes, driver input, proven international experience with a history of results and team combinations working well together, trend of push times, start rank and velocity, and current season results.
The Olympic bobsled events will be held in a four-heat format over two days of racing. The men’s two-man bobsled competition will take place Feb. 16-17, followed by women’s bobsled Feb. 18-19. The men’s four-man bobsled competition will be one of the last events of the Olympic Games, taking place Feb. 22-23.