Olympic medalists highlight this season’s US bobsled team
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — Olympic medalists Elana Meyers Taylor, Lauren Gibbs and Justin Olsen were chosen Friday for this season’s U.S. national bobsled team.
Of the 23 selected by USA Bobsled, only seven were part of the team last season.
Meyers Taylor is a three-time medalist, the most recent medal coming when she and Gibbs won silver at this year’s Pyeongchang Games.
Olsen was part of the team that won four-man gold at the Vancouver Games in 2010, when he was a push athlete in Steven Holcomb’s sled.
The World Cup season starts in Latvia from Dec. 3-9. There is a race on the Americans’ home track in Lake Placid, New York, in February.
“There will be a steep learning curve, but after what we’ve seen from this group in push championships and team trials we expect big things,” USA Bobsled and Skeleton CEO Darrin Steele said.
Meyers Taylor, returnee Brittany Reinbolt and Nicole Vogt are the women’s drivers for World Cup races this season. Their pool of push athletes includes Gibbs and five national-team newcomers — Nicole Brungardt, Jessica Davis, Sylvia Hoffman, Megan Kelly and Lake Kwaza.
Olsen’s quest toward potentially a fourth Olympic appearance begins with him as one of three men’s pilots on the U.S. World Cup roster. He joins 2018 Olympic team driver Codie Bascue and newcomer Geoffrey Gadbois on the pilot list.
Bascue swept the team selection races this month.
“He’s really coming into his own,” first-year USA Bobsled coach Mike Kohn said.
Hakeem Abdul-Saboor, who was at the Pyeongchang Games, and 2018 Olympic alternate Jimmy Reed are among 11 men’s push athletes named to the team. The other nine — Adrian Adams, Kyler Allison, Chris Avery, Jacob Gourley, Kris Horn, Dakota Lynch, Blaine McConnell, Kyle Wilcox and Josh Williamson — are all new to the World Cup circuit.
Williamson first found sliding through a reality show. The Florida State business student was part of the 2017 show called “Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful.”
“His speed, his strength, his power, the push, he’s everything we want to see in a bobsled athlete,” U.S. coach Brian Shimer said at the time.
The U.S. won 15 medals in World Cup races last season, plus the silver by Meyers Taylor and Gibbs in Pyeongchang. There were 14 athletes in those medal-winning sleds, and 10 of them — including retired women’s pilot Jamie Greubel Poser and veteran U.S. Summer and Winter Olympian Lolo Jones, who was a push athlete in the last two Olympic cycles — are not back this winter.
“Starting a new Olympic quad is always challenging,” Kohn said. “But we’ve got the tools to get things kicked off on the right path.”