Track stars Lauryn Williams, Lolo Jones one step closer to Winter Olympics

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American bobsled team Lolo Jones and Jazmine Fenlator, right, earned a spot on the World Cup team.(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
    

by Greg Botelho

(CNN) — It’s a good bet that Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams won’t be wearing singlets for this Olympics. But it’s also safe to assume that — once again — they’d be plenty fast.

These two U.S. Track and Field stars got one step closer Saturday to another Olympic Games, this time in wintry Russia. They are among the women named Saturday as “push athletes” for the Americans’ six-women bobsled team, according to the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation.

Lauryn Williams

 

Williams, from Rochester, Pa., acknowledged the honor with a quick, emphatic message on her Twitter feed to those offering congratulations: “Thank you!”

Jones quickly followed suit, while noting that Saturday’s announcement means she’s part of the national team, but not necessarily off to Sochi this coming winter. The Olympic team will be named in January, though those on the national team certainly have a big leg up on the competition.

The others in the same group as Jones and Williams include 2010 Olympian Emily Azevdo, two-time World Champion medalist Katie Eberling, two-time national push champ Aja Evans and Kristi Koplin.

Those piloting the American bobsleds are Elana Meyers — who won a silver medal as last season’s World Championship — as well as Jamie Gruebel and Jazmine Fenlator.

These are all accomplished athletes in their own right, though Jones and Williams are probably the most recognizable among the U.S. public.

Williams, 30, emerged in 2002 as a U.S. Junior then World Junior champ in the 100-meter dash, the same footrace in which she won the 2004 NCAA crown while attending the University of Miami. That same year, Williams made her Olympic debut — finishing second in the 100. The Miami resident finished first in the 2005 World Outdoor 100 meters, and was a two-time gold medalist (in 2005 and 2007) in the World Outdoor 4×100 relay. She also made the U.S. Olympic team in 2008 after placing third in the trials.

The photogenic Jones may be as recognizable for her commercials and photo shoots in some circles, though she’s been a fierce and accomplished track and field athlete in her own right.

The Iowa native is an 11-time All-American from her days at Louisiana State University, where she won titles in both sprint relays and the hurdles.

In 2008, Jones appeared on top of the track world — winning the 60-meter hurdles in the World Indoor Championships and being named the VISA Humanitarian Athlete of the Year for good deeds outside the sport. In fact, she entered that summer’s Olympics in Beijing as a gold medal favorite, only to trip on a hurdle and finish seventh.

She suffered another setback in 2011 when she underwent spinal surgery, yet still managed to make the next year’s Olympic team. This time, Jones did better but finished just out of the medals, in fourth.
   

 

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