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Williams 3rd at US bobsled push championships

Published August 1, 2013 2:05 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Lauryn Williams doesn't remember the last time she saw snow or ice. Temperatures in the 50s make her feel like she's freezing. She truly thought her athletic career was ending a few weeks ago.

And now she's trying to become a rookie bobsledder.

Less than a week after touching a sled for the first time, Williams — a three-time track and field Olympian and a former NCAA 100-meter champion for Miami — finished third Thursday at the U.S. national push championships in Calgary, Alberta.

She'll be heading to the team's headquarters next week in Lake Placid, N.Y., for a bobsled camp, meaning she's already a viable candidate for a spot on this season's national team.

If she makes the team, she would then have a chance of making the squad that the U.S. will send to the Sochi Olympics in February.

"I'm counting myself in, as of today," Williams said in a telephone interview from Calgary. "I had no expectations coming into it. I was like, 'Come out here, have a good time, if they like you, great. And if they don't, that's OK.' I really haven't had a chance to digest it all yet."

Emily Azevedo (11.148 seconds) was fourth, and Lolo Jones — the Olympic hurdler for the U.S. who pushed her way to a World Cup medal in her rookie race on the international sliding circuit last fall — was fifth in 11.176 seconds.

Clearly, the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation liked what they saw from Williams, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist in the 100 meters and part of the 4x100-meter relay team that won gold at last year's London Olympics.

Aja Evans, a former sprinter herself who just started in bobsledding about a year ago, won her second consecutive national push title with a combined time of 10.931 seconds in the two-push competition. Katie Eberling was second in 10.991 seconds, and Williams was third in 11.144 seconds.