Published: February 4, 2014
Lolo Jones wanted to become a push athlete in Olympic bobsled competition.
She knew her ambition would require a big dose of courage. It's no secret bobsledding can be perilous.
She also knew her ambition would require a more enormous version of Lolo.
Jones had made her name as a slim 130-pound world-class hurdler. She needed to add 30 pounds, at least, to prosper as a pusher.
"I can eat anything," Jones said late in 2013 as she looked back on her successful attempt to add weight to her frame. "And it's awesome."
Jones is the most famous of the athletes who have traveled from other sports to bobsled competition. She is joined on the Olympic team by Lauryn Williams, a gold medal Olympic sprinter, and Aja Evans, who competed in track at Illinois.
"People are so happy that I'm doing this," Evans said. "They are so amazed."
On the men's team, Curt Tomasevicz traveled to the bobsled Olympic team from football. He was raised in Shelby, Neb., on land almost as flat as a pool table. He still found his way, with a stop at Nebraska's football team, to this mountain sport and lives and trains in Colorado Springs.
"They ask me if bobsledding is fun," Tomasevicz said, "and I don't think I could describe bobsledding as fun with freezing temperatures and spandex and wearing only a helmet as protection, it's not necessarily fun."
She's been surprised by the sheer joy of bobsledding. She once spent her days trying to run as fast as she could while clearing hurdles, but has found thrills in her role as, borrowing his words, "the engine" of a bobsled race team.
"Once you get used to the g-force and how it knocks you around, it's really quite fun," she said.
The eating has been quite fun, too.
Jones had spent her adult life carefully counting calories. If she ate a candy bar, she said with a laugh, she worried her track career was doomed.
Moving to bobsled competition liberated her diet. She devoured double bacon cheeseburgers and ice cream (sometimes three times a day) and chocolate milk and pizza and tacos and . "I've eaten a lot of fast food," Jones said, laughing.
But the highlight of her sports adventure has been the actual bobsled competition. She and Evans and Williams and Tomasevicz arrived at their sport from unlikely beginnings, but Jones is thankful for her new sports home.
Everyone, she said in a serious voice, should place riding extremely fast on a bobsled on their bucket list of life adventures.