KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Neither Lolo Jones nor Lauryn Williams say they’re ready to commit to competing with the U.S. bobsled team beyond the Sochi Games.
Both crossover athletes said following their performances here Wednesday that while they enjoyed the experience, each is going to take time to weigh her options.
“I don’t know,” said Jones, a pusher for the USA-3 sled that finished in 11th place. “I take it day by day.”
Her teammate Jazmine Fenlator stood next to her and began chanting encouragement, “Pyeongchang! Pyeongchang!” – the site of the 2018 Winter Games.
“She’s trying to recruit me already,” Jones said with a chuckle.
Fresh off her silver medal-winning performance in the USA-1 sled, Williams similarly wasn’t ready to offer any guarantees. Both Jones and Williams are track and field athletes who competed in the Summer Olympics before joining the bobsled program.
“I’m planning on eating pizza tonight,” Williams said. “That’s as far as I’ve got in the planning process.”
Williams said she talked with her pilot, Elana Meyers, about the matter on Tuesday night and said there’s a 33 percent that she’ll continue in bobsled next year.
“Maybe if I give her delicious pizza tonight she’ll reconsider,” Meyers said.
Bobsled has long served as a second sport for some athletes, mostly track athletes and football players. Meyers played softball at George Washington University. But when Jones, a lightning rod no matter the sport, made the bobsled team, there was some chatter about whether she was deserving.
“Lolo has been a trooper the whole time,” Meyers said. “She recruited Lauryn. To be in that situation and to recruit such a powerful – such a strong athlete — and have the confidence to say, ‘You know what, you’re going to compete against me for a spot, but I’m going to introduce you to the sport anyways.’ That speaks loads about Lolo’s character.
“I think she doesn’t get enough credit for how hard she works and how much she’s dedicated to performing for team USA,” Meyers continued, “because she truly is.”
While Jones wasn’t ready to commit to the 2018 Games – or even next season – she had nothing but good things to say about her bobsled experience.
“I thought it was amazing,” she said. “Bobsled is just such a tough, weird sport. For track and field, I have to think about everything during the race. There’s a part of this race where I just rely on faith and rely on my teammate… it’s exciting for sure. I had a blast.”