IGLS, Austria – Lauryn Williams is headed back to the Olympics.
The former University of Miami track star was one of six women named to the US Olympic Bobsled team. Williams, who previously competed in three Summer Olympics as a sprinter, qualified for her first Winter Olympics. She becomes the second Hurricane to qualify for four Olympics, joining diver Jose “Chemi” Gil. Williams is also the first Cane to qualify for a Winter Olympics.
"We are so proud of Lauryn in making the Olympic team," Miami director of track & field/cross country Amy Deem said. "When she is determined to achieve something, she is one of the most driven and competitive athletes I have ever been associated with."
A two-time Olympic medalist in track & field, Williams will look to earn her first bobsled Olympic medal just months after taking up the sport. She first dabbled in bobsled in July, but placed third in the national push championships just one week later. Williams’ career in the sport take off since then.
A nine-time All-American at Miami, Williams earned her first bobsled medal, a silver, on Dec. 7 at the World Cup race in Park City, Utah and claimed her second silver on Dec. 14. The former Hurricanes standout earned a gold medal on Sunday in Austria and learned later that day that she would be representing the United States in Sochi.
Joining Williams in Sochi are drivers Jazmine Fenlator, Jamie Greubel and Elana Meyers, as well as push athletes Aja Evans and Lolo Jones.
Williams has had success with all three drivers, but Sunday’s pairing with Greubel led to her best performance in the sport to date. The tandem blazed down the track twice, combining for a time of 1:46.28 that helped them finish atop the podium at the end of the day’s racing.
“I had no idea what was in store for me this season,” Williams said after winning the race in Igls, Austria. “I just wanted to come in with positive energy and help out. This is the first time I’ve been a part of a true team sport, and there’s someone else counting on you. You can’t let that person down, and that’s what drives me. It’s very important to give everything I have whenever I’m on that start line.”
The three-time track and field Olympian won a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics as part of the U.S. 4x100m relay team and took home a silver medal in the 100m at the 2004 Olympics. Williams is also a three-time gold medalist at the World Championships and won the NCAA Championship in the 100m in 2004.
The U.S. women have won a medal in every Olympic Winter Games since the sport was introduced in 2002. Jill Bakken and Vonetta Flowers were victorious in 2002, Shauna Rohbock and Valerie Fleming claimed silver in 2006, and Erin Pac and Meyers earned bronze in 2010. The women collectively earned 12 medals in the first seven World Cup races and are on track to continue the program’s history of success.
The XXII Olympic Winter Games are set to begin Feb. 6 in Sochi, Russia. Opening Ceremonies are scheduled for Feb. 7, while women’s bobsled begins Feb. 18 at the Sanki Sliding Center.