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Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones joins U.S. bobsled team

3:59 PM, Oct 25, 2012   |    comments
Lolo Jones waits for her run at the U.S. women's bobsled push championships on October 5 in Lake Placid (Michael Lynch, AP)
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(USA TODAY) -- A few weeks after taking up the sport, Lolo Jones has made the U.S. national bobsled team.

Jones was named to the team Thursday morning as a push athlete. The Olympic hurdler finished second in a team selection race with pilot Jazmine Fenlator, of Wayne, N.J., on Saturday.

"This is a breath of fresh air - cool, very cool, cold air," Jones said.

She joins 2010 Olympic bobsledder Emily Azevedo, world championship medalist Katie Eberling and track and field athletes Tianna Madison, Aja Evans and Cherrelle Garrett.

The pilots selected are Elana Meyers, who had a bye onto the team because of her bronze at worlds last season, Jamie Greubel and Fenlator.

The men's team will be led by world champion Steven Holcomb and his crew of Steve Langton, Justin Olsen and Curt Tomasevicz. The other pilots are Nick Cunningham and Cory Butner.

The next Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia, in February 2014. The upcoming World Cup season begins in two weeks and continues through February. The top athletes compete on the World Cup circuit. The lower-level races are part of the America's Cup, Europa Cup and Intercontinental Cup.

The U.S. pushers were evaluated on a combine test and results from the summer push championship and team selection races, which ended Wednesday night. The committee also considered the past year's results as well as input from coaches and drivers.

Jones, who competed in hurdles at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, was among 16 women vying for a spot as a push athlete on the bobsled team. The 30-year-old who ran track at LSU was among those recruited by women's bobsled coach and 2002 Olympic silver medalist Todd Hays. Jones, who grew up in Des Moines, started in the sport just last month and finished seventh in the summer push championships Oct. 5.

"I didn't have a lot of time to get to know Lolo through the media," Hays said. "These three weeks, I've gotten to know her as an athlete. And she surprised me every day with how dedicated she is. The one word I keep coming back to is, she's such a competitor. She cannot accept not being good at something. She gets up earlier than everybody else, goes to bed later, constantly trying to get better."

Jones still plans to compete in hurdles at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Only now, a trip to Sochi might come first. As of now, she's planning to take part in the next outdoor track season like usual. She's passing on the indoor track season to pursue the bobsled idea.

"I just came out here and kind of needed to get away from track for a bit, kind of wanted to get some motivation," Jones said. "I thought coming out here with the other girls that we could help each other, we could benefit from one another. I could help them with their speed and they could help me with my strength. And just being around them, hearing their goals gave me new goals and refreshed me."

Madison, 27, won an Olympic gold medal in London as part of the 4x100 meter relay team. She finished fourth in the women's 100.

The World Cup season opens in Lake Placid, N.Y., Nov. 8-10. 


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