KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) After getting some spare parts, Elana Meyers’ USA-1 bobsled was good as new Sunday morning.
The proof was in the results.
Meyers posted the fastest time in one of the two final women’s bobsled training runs at the Sochi Olympics, one day after she saw pieces of her sled ”everywhere” after a head-on collision with the wall past the finish line. Team mechanics, she said, worked until 11:30 p.m. Saturday to fix the damage, including replacing some parts with ones from a sled that had been on display in Sochi at USA House.
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”We were skidding around the braking stretch and I think my runner caught on something and we just skid right into the short wall. Black pieces everywhere,” Meyers said Sunday. ”It was a head-on collision. It was one of the hardest hits I’ve ever taken in a bobsled. Luckily, we have some amazing mechanics. They were able to get my sled ready to go.”
And with that, the U.S. women look ready for the Olympics.
There was some concern about what sort of feel Meyers would have steering the repaired sled, and how quickly it would take her to acclimate to any changes mechanics had to make.
But in reality, things weren’t much different, if at all.
”I’m a little rough on sleds,” Meyers said. ”They’ve been able to fix everything.”
U.S. sleds had the fastest times in both heats Sunday, with Meyers and Lauryn Williams taking the first one, followed by Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans in fourth, and Jazmine Fenlator and Lolo Jones in 10th. In the second heat, Greubel’s sled was fastest, Meyers’ was fifth and Fenlator’s was eighth.
The women’s competition begins Tuesday night.
”Really needed to get back out here,” Meyers said. ”Me and Lauryn have limited sliding time together so we definitely wanted to work on our timing. Our timing’s there, and I’m very confident in our push and I was able to fix some things in the drive.”
Williams – who’s been a bobsledder for about six months – was late hitting the brakes after their first run in training on Saturday, playing a role in the crash with the wall. Meyers also crashed Friday with alternate brakeman Katie Eberling, and it’s possible that the sled was damaged then more than first thought.
”I was totally unsure what happened yesterday,” Williams said after Sunday’s training. ”I knew that I was braking, and we were skidding, and yeah, there was a wall. It’s one of those things. … A whole lot of things went wrong at one time. You get that it happens but you don’t over why it happens – why me and why two days before the games.”
Whatever was wrong is now fixed, and that’s the bottom line as far as Meyers is concerned.
”It’s been a rough Olympics,” Meyers said. ”It’s been a rough Olympic experience. … I love this sport and I love being able to slide down the hill. Everything that’s been happening – the sled issues, the crash, all this kind of stuff – to be able to come back and slide today, that’s the most fun you could ever ask for.”