August 1 - Recently retired sprinter Lauryn Williams finished in third spot on her debut in the women's Bobsled US National Push Championships in Calgary, Canada, as she aims to secure a place on the America's team for next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Williams, who won silver in the women's 100 metres at Athens 2004 and was part of the 4x100m relay team that took gold at last year's Olympics in London, announced her retirement from athletics in June.
But the 29-year-old revealed that after speaking with athletes, including dual star Lolo Jones who has competed for the US in hurdles and bobsleigh, she decided to give the winter sport a try.
"My interest was piqued when I heard fellow athletes were trying out last year," said Williams.
"I have always enjoyed the power and strength part of track and think doing it all on ice makes it that much more fun."
Williams showed promise as she clocked 5.588sec and 5:556 during her two runs which was enough to see her finish third behind Katie Eberling and overall winner Aja Evans.
Jones, who won a gold medal in the team event with the US at the International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation (FIBT) World Championships in St. Moritz in January, had to make do with fifth place.
"This was a really exciting opportunity for me," said Williams.
"The atmosphere said that something serious was happening, but at the same time it was very positive and motivating.
"All the girls are super supportive and help however they can."
Former collegiate sprinter Evans claimed her second consecutive National Championship title in only her second season on the ice with an overall time of 10.931.
"I definitely feel more confident this year after my performances last season, and just having a year of sliding under my belt gives me some added confidence," said the 25-year-old.
"I'm more aware, and I know what to expect this season.
"Now I can focus on the things that matter, like my technique.
"I think I can be more explosive off the block, so I'm going to continue working on that with hopes of mastering it before the season."
Two-time World Championship medallist Eberling finished behind Evans by just 0.06 but was happy with her performance in Calgary.
"This is the first stage of a long season ahead, so I'm pretty happy with how I performed," said Eberling, who also won the National Championship title in her first season in 2011.
"There's incredible talent from top to bottom, so I knew I would have to come out and give everything I had today.
"It's a different feeling now that I've been in the sport for two years, because there's an expectation to do well now.
"I just trusted in my training, tried to relax while still being aggressive, and I think I was able to do that."
"The athleticism of this team is incredible and these athletes continue to surprise me every time we do something, whether it's the combine, push championships, or in the weight room," said Salt Lake City 2002 four-man bobsled silver medallist Hays.
"The level of athleticism is continuing to rise in the sport of bobsled each season, and the addition of Lauryn is a great example of that."
Williams will now be aiming to continue the promising start to her bobsled career by earning a place on the US team for the upcoming World Cup season, which is due to begin in Calgary in November and her performances there will determine her chances of making the US team for Sochi 2014, which are scheduled to open on February 7.
"I am very eager to make the most of the next eight weeks and learn as much as possible," she said.
"I want to be a bobsledder."
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