Hurdle queen turns medal dreams to ice

Thu Jan 9, 2014 12:19pm EST
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By Justin Palmer

(Reuters) - Track and field star Lolo Jones is the most high-profile crossover athlete to try her hand at winter sports since former NFL running back Herschel Walker took off his shoulder pads and climbed into a bobsled.

The American, best known for throwing away the chance of Olympic gold with the 100 meters hurdles crown at her mercy in Beijing in 2008, has again put her track career on the back burner in the winter months in a bid to make it to the Sochi Games.

Jones, 31, is in her second season as a push athlete, or brakewoman - hoping to earn selection as the U.S. seek a first gold in two-woman bobsleigh since it was introduced at the Salt Lake games in 2002.

She enjoyed a decent first season but her participation in Sochi is far from certain with this season not quite going to plan and it appears she is locked in a three-way battle for one spot.

"Last year, I was just soaking everything in. It was an adventure, it was fun, it was nothing really on the line for me," Jones said. "It was just kind of an escape and there were no expectations. So now coming into my second year, they expect me to be more knowledgeable and more of a leader."

Earlier this month Jones talked about her frustration over the uncertainty of the selection process.

"It's so frustrating right now, even for our pilots. They felt like they would have a sense of who they would be racing with, so even they're getting antsy," she told the Des Moines Register.

The Iowan has found the switch back and forth from her two sports a challenging one.   Continued...

Bobsledder Lolo Jones poses for a portrait during the 2013 U.S. Olympic Team Media Summit in Park City, Utah September 30, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson