U.S women bobsled teams sweep podium at World Cup event
Standing arm-in-arm atop the medal stand, the six women chanted in unison.
No U.S. women’s bobsled team had swept the podium in a World Cup race in nearly 13 years — until Saturday, when the American dominance was on full display. Elana Meyers and Aja Evans won their second gold medal in two days, and Jamie Greubel and Lolo Jones tied for second with Jazmine Fenlator and Lauryn Williams to complete the U.S. sweep.
And with the Sochi Olympics less than two months away, here’s a very good sign for the U.S.: Out of the 18 medals awarded in bobsledding and skeleton at Park City over the weekend, against the best racers in the world, American sliders took 10 of them.
Said 2010 Olympic bobsled gold medalist Steven Holcomb: "It was a good day."
A good weekend, to be precise. A very, very good weekend, to be more precise.
The last time American women’s bobsledders swept a World Cup race was Feb. 17, 2001, in Park City, when Jean Racine, Bonny Warner and Jill Bakken were the pilots going 1-2-3.
"It feels great to be on the podium," said Jones, who won her second World Cup medal as a push athlete. "With bobsled you never know when you are going to be on the podium and how long it will be before you are back on again. It makes you cherish the moments when you are doing well. Our drivers are doing outstanding this year."
A schedule quirk calls for certain sliding disciplines to race twice at various World Cup stops this winter, and in Park City, women’s bobsled was due for the double-up. So after winning gold Friday night, Meyers and Evans were back at it early Saturday and finished two runs in 1 minute, 38.61 seconds, good enough for a 0.63-second margin of victory.
Greubel and Jones finished in 1:39.24, the same time as Fenlator and Williams, an Olympic gold medalist and former world champion in track who was making her World Cup debut. Early reviews for the sprinter-turned-bobsledder — Williams was recruited to the sport by Jones, the two-time Olympic hurdler for the U.S. — were smashing.
"I’ll tell you something: Lauryn Williams is a rising star in what I see in bobsledding," longtime bobsled analyst John Morgan said during the race broadcast. "She’s got the build for it, the speed, the explosion. … Lauryn Williams, welcome to bobsledding."
Williams’ push was critical for Fenlator, who did not have anything close to a flawless drive down the track. But the speed Williams helped generate at the top was more than enough. And one sled later, Jones also had a big push to get Greubel started.
"It’s so awesome to be here," Williams said.
Greubel and Fenlator both edged longtime German star Sandra Kirasis by 0.01 second in the standings. Meyers also assumed the series driving lead from Canada’s Kaillie Humphries, who was seventh. The World Cup standings determine the starting order for the Sochi Games, and the earlier start position typically means a racer would be seeing better ice conditions.
In the four-man race, Holcomb had a dominant second run to pull away from what was a three-sled tie at the midway point. Holcomb, Curt Tomasevicz, Chris Fogt and Steve Langton finished two runs in 1:34.76, 0.35 seconds better than German driver Maximilian Arndt. Russia’s Alexander Kasjanov drove his sled to a third-place showing, 0.36 seconds back of Holcomb.
"It was a great race and that’s what we’re all here for," Holcomb said.
The series shifts to Lake Placid, N.Y., next weekend.