Lauryn Williams Ready For Sochi Debut
Women's Bobsled set to begin Feb. 18
CORAL GABLES, Fla. ? When USA-1 hits the track on Feb. 18 at the Sanki Sliding Center, Lauryn Williams will look to provide the force that propels America's top sled to the medal stand.
Williams, who was a track star for the United States in three Summer Olympics, will team with driver Elana Meyers in a quest for a gold medal. The former University of Miami track and field superstar aims to become the fifth Olympian to medal in both a Summer and Winter Olympics.
If history is a good indicator, Williams will have a good chance to earn that distinction as the U.S. women have won a medal in every Olympic Winter Games since the sport was introduced in 2002. Add in the fact that Meyers drove to either gold or silver medals in seven of eight World Cup races this season and you can see that the American duo forms a formidable tandem.
Meyers and Williams already paired for a silver medal in the World Cup season, but they hope to upgrade their precious metal on the biggest stage.
If Williams wins in Sochi, she'll be the first woman to take gold in both the Winter and Summer Olympics. Eddie Eagan is the only American athlete to win gold in both Summer and Winter Olympics, reaching the top of the podium for boxing in 1920 and as a member of the U.S. four-man bobsled team in 1932.
The first Miami student-athlete to qualify for a Winter Olympics, Williams is the second Hurricane to participate in four Olympics, joining diver Jose "Chemi" Gil. Williams first picked up bobsled in July and has ascended rapidly, becoming the top push athlete on the U.S. Olympic team.
"Incredible," U.S. coach Todd Hays told the Associated Press. "I would have bet anybody any amount of money that no person could walk on this team as a rookie and make the team, let alone actually be in USA-1. But you look at Lauryn's resume and it tells you what type of athlete she is. She's one of the greatest U.S. sprinters of all time, incredibly talented, incredibly powerful with an incredible work ethic."
Williams' natural ability as a track star has helped her become an elite pusher, but she has worked hard to improve after she hops inside the sled. The Hurricane legend has been diligently studying the Sanki course in preparation for her Winter Olympic debut.
"It's really important for me to be able to learn the curves as much as possible," Williams said following her first practice on the Sanki course. "I haven't been able to slide here as much as the other girls and my learning curve is steep. Figuring it out on the first day and successfully counting on the way down was good so I know I can be a good rider in addition to a good pusher."
A nine-time All-American at Miami, Williams earned her first bobsled medal, a silver, on Dec. 7, 2013, at the World Cup race in Park City, Utah, and claimed her second silver on Dec. 14, 2013. The former Hurricanes standout earned a gold medal on Jan. 19 in Austria and learned later that day that she would be representing the United States in Sochi.
The three-time track and field Olympian won a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics as part of the U.S. 4x100m relay team and took home a silver medal in the 100m at the 2004 Olympics. Williams is also a three-time gold medalist at the World Championships and won the NCAA Championship in the 100m in 2004.
Source: Miami Hurricanes Media