ROSA KHUTOR, Russia — Former Olympic and world champion sprinter Lauryn Williams showed why she was selected to push the USA-1 sled after just six months in the sport when she propelled Elana Meyers to the halfway lead in women’s bobsled Tuesday.
Meyers and Williams, 30, helped by two track record starts, eked out a lead of 0.23 seconds over Canada’s 2010 champions Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse.
The USA-2 sled of Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans sit in bronze medal position before the final two runs today.
“The nerves definitely overtook me. All day long I’ve been nervous, well before we got here,” said the diminutive Williams, who was lured to bobsled by fellow crossover track recruit Lolo Jones, an Iowa native and world-class hurdler who also made her Olympic debut in the USA-3 sled.
“When I got on that line, I knew something good was going to happen because I was jumping out of my skin and that’s a feeling I hadn’t had for a while in track and field, knowing what that feeling means, it means going fast.
“I didn’t notice the rain at all. It could have been raining, snowing, sunshine, it wouldn’t have mattered, I just would have been running behind E (Elana) trying to get that sled away.”
Brakeman Jones and driver Jazmine Fenlator could not match their compatriots’ speed and sit 11th and out of medal contention, although TV commentary indicated Jones gave the sled good speed at the top with her initial pushes.
“I’m just going to take it day by day, for sure,” Jones told the Associated Press.
Williams, who won the world 100-meter title in 2005, Olympic 100 silver at the 2004 Olympics and 400 relay gold at the 2012 London Games, quit track in June. She is poised to become only the second athlete to win Winter and Summer Olympic gold after Edward Eagan of the U.S. who took gold in boxing at the Antwerp 1920 Olympic Games and finished first in bobsled at the Lake Placid 1932 Winter Games.