Rick Bowmer/AP
American bobsled team Jazmine Fenlator (r.) and Lolo Jones look up after racing in the United States women's bobsled team trials Friday in Park City, Utah. Fenlator and Jones came in third place.

Lolo Jones makes US bobsled team, but expect drama ahead

Lolo Jones, the US Olympic hurdler, has made the cut for this season's US bobsled team. She's not assured a place in the Sochi Olympics, and bobsled politics can be controversial.

Lolo Jones, the hurdler whose pinup looks inspired as much buzz as her running at the 2010 London Summer Olympics, has made this season's US women's bobsled team, officials announced Saturday. She'll be a brakeman for one of the USA's three two-woman sleds, and she is eligible to make the team for the Sochi Olympics in February.

Jones is bidding to become one of only a handful of American Olympians to compete in the Summer and Winter Games. But the path onto the US Olympic bobsled team is not always one without controversy.

In bobsledding, where the brakeman is largely there to improve push times at the start of the race, the forever-recurring question is: Do you choose the woman with the best push times or the one who has the best rapport with her pilot?

Jones, it would seem, might be hoping to make the team based on her athleticism. She is an elite hurdler (even if she didn't medal in London), and her power and build seem to make her a perfect brakeman.

But some American pilots have questioned whether the US it too obsessed with simply finding the biggest, baddest beast available, making the brakeman's seat feel like a revolving door.

"Crew familiarity is something that has always escaped USA Bobsled," said pilot Steven Holcomb, and Olympic gold medalist, at a media summit earlier this month.

Someone might have better measureables – push times, sprint speeds, etc. – but on the track the team has to be seamless unit, and that comes only from familiarity and experience, Holcomb suggested.

"You go to war with these guys," he said. "Any sort of hesitation can cost a medal."

Elana Myers, a medal favorite for Sochi and driver of the USA-1 sled, agrees that a pilot and brakeman need to be on the same page.

"A great brakeman knows what I need before I need it," she said at the media summit. "Sometimes it is difficult."

She has that connection with veterans Aja Evans and Katie Eberling, she said. But as a former brakeman herself, she understands that new brakemen need an opportunity to break through.

"As a brakeman, you want that opportunity."

Jones will have this season on the World Cup circuit to convince the coaches – and the pilots – that she deserves a place in Sochi.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Lolo Jones makes US bobsled team, but expect drama ahead
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today