After a summer in the spotlight, hurdler Lolo Jones is taking on a new challenge. This time, the two-time Olympian says she hopes she won't be quite as conspicuous.
On Oct. 25, the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation announced that Jones had qualified for the U.S. national bobsled team as a push athlete. Jones only began practicing bobsled about three weeks ago.
In total, six push athletes were named to the team. The other women named include Emily Azevedo, Katie Eberling, Tianna Madison, Aja Evans and Cherrelle Garrett. Madison, Evans and Garrett each are track and field athletes, as well.
Jones has been paired with pilot Jazmine Fenlator. Together, the two women finished second at the team selection race.
In bobsled, the focus of the race is usually on the athlete who pilots the sled. Jones, who was criticized after the 2012 Olympic Games for receiving and inordinate amount of media attention, hopes that her background role as a push athlete will allow her a break from track and field -- and from the media.
"I just came out here and kind of needed to get away from track for a bit, kind of wanted to get some motivation," Jones told The Associated Press. "I thought coming out here with the other girls that we could help each other, we could benefit from one another. I could help them with their speed and they could help me with my strength. And just being around them, hearing their goals gave me new goals and refreshed me."
She added: "When I came here, I didn't want any distractions."
So far, Jones' plan to fade into the shadows has failed to pan out. Since she began practicing bobsled earlier this month, it seems as if media reports have followed Jones' every move. Some have questioned whether the national team announcement of USA Bobsled would have garnered any attention at all if it had not been for Jones' involvement.
Jones' wasn't the only 2012 Olympian named to the national bobsled team. Madison, who was a member of the women's gold-medal winning 4x100-meter relay, also was named to the team as a push athlete.
Next, Jones and her teammates will participate in World Cup competition, which begins Nov. 8 in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Sandra Johnson is a longtime fan of Olympic sports. While working for the United States Olympic Committee and living in the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Johnson had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46
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