Dress warmer, Lolo. (Getty Images)
Jones was invited to the bobsled team's tryouts in Lake Placid, N.Y., both as inspiration and as possible recruit. Bobsledding has long sought athletes from other sports, particularly track, to fill the role of "push athlete." That position requires an athlete to push the sled while getting up to top speed as soon as possible, and Olympic-level track competitors have a demonstrated skill in that area. Also named to the team: Olympic sprinting gold medalist Tianna Madison.
Jones doesn't have a direct route to the U.S. team competing in Sochi in 2014 just yet. She and the rest of the team will participate in World Cup competition in Lake Placid beginning Nov. 8, and from there the team will determine who will represent it in the 2014 Games.
"This is a breath of fresh air," Jones said, according to ABC News. "Cool, very cool, cold air."
For Jones, it's an exceptional opportunity; after four summers of buildup, her 2008 and 2012 Games ended in disappointment. This move allows her to remain in the public eye, and gives bobsledding an extra shot of publicity going forward.
"I didn't have a lot of time to get to know Lolo through the media," U.S. women's bobsled coach Todd Hays told ABC. "These three weeks, I've gotten to know her as an athlete. And she surprised me every day with how dedicated she is. The one word I keep coming back to is, she's such a competitor. She cannot accept not being good at something. She gets up earlier than everybody else, goes to bed later, constantly trying to get better."
Jones joins a line of athletes from other sports, including football's Herschel Walker and track's Willie Gault, who have made the jump to bobsledding, with mixed results. While Jones plans to try out for the 2016 Games in Rio, she may have some other Olympic work to do first.
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