Crash Course: Lauryn Williams had basically called it a career. She was in the process of hanging up her track spikes after winning gold and silver medals during her Summer Olympics career. But in July, she had a conversation with hurdler Lolo Jones and realized she had the opportunity to extend her career as a pusher/brakeman in bobsledding. While there wasn't much time, Williams proved herself and won a spot on the U.S. bobsled team. When she concludes her Olympic performance, Williams will pursue her goal of a career in financial planning.
Athletic Profile: Williams, 30, is a three-time Olympic sprinter. She won a silver medal in the 100 meters at the 2004 Olympics and a gold medal in 4 x 100-meter relay at the 2012 Olympics. She has also won three gold medals and one silver at the World Championships. In her very brief bobsledding career on the World Cup circuit, Williams earned two silver and one gold medal as a pusher/brakeman. She was named to the U.S. bobsled team in January after less than six months in the sport.
The Push: Williams' job is to push a 400-pound sled for about 30 meters before jumping in the sled and getting as low as possible to prevent wind drag. Despite her limited experience, her times are favorable compared to the other pushers.
Track and Field Trend: The three pushers on the U.S. bobsled team—Williams, Jones and Aja Evans—all come from the track and field world. Seasoned pushers Katie Eberling and 2010 Olympian Emily Azevedo were left off the team. Eberling had been considered a lock to compete in Sochi before the start of the season.
Off the Course: Williams has a degree in finance from the University of Miami and also has her Florida real estate license. She completed an internship for a Texas-based financial planner in 2013 and she has also completed her certified financial planning coursework. Her business goal is to work with athletes on improving their financial literacy.
Quote: “I had no idea what was in store for me this season. 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.”—Lauryn Williams to Runners World Magazine