PITTSBRUGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – The Winter Olympics’ opening ceremony is this Friday and one of our own is in Sochi, Russia representing the USA.
Lauryn Williams, a Rochester native, is a gold medalist in the summer games, but is now trying to win a medal in bobsledding.
Williams joined KDKA Radio’s Larry Richert and John Shumway to talk about her Olympic experience so far and how she transitioned from track and field to bobsledding.
If Williams wins gold in Sochi she will be the first female athlete to do so in the summer and winter Olympic Games.
How does someone that is a gold medal winner in the summer games get involved in bobsledding in the winter games?
“A chance meeting with Lolo Jones in the airport,” Williams said.
Jones, originally a summer Olympian herself, transitioned to bobsledding and took Williams along for the ride.
“I showed up, tried out, and I didn’t look back,” she said.
Security surrounding the games has been a topic of discussion.
“I think we [have] just enough security. There’s not armed people in the street making you feel afraid,” she said. “I feel very safe and secure. I’m not at all worried about any threats.”
What is Williams’ job as a part of the bobsled team?
“[I’m] a breakman/pusher. My job is to push that sled as fast as possible and then, once we make it to the bottom safely, I pull the breaks so we don’t go too far past the finish line,” she said.
Williams is part of a two-person bobsled. She says there is just a two-women bobsled right now and that they are lobbying for a four-person sled for the next Olympics.
Williams made a pretty smooth transition for track athlete to bobsledder, but said her first time on the sled was challenging.
“It was horrific, I don’t know how I showed up for a second or even a third day,” she said. “It’s kind of like a roller coaster, only it doesn’t have seatbelts and it’s far more dangerous.”
Clearly, she is a lot more comfortable with it now.
Williams said the top teams they need to watch out for are the Canadians and Germans. She says that they also need to watch out for the Russians since it is there home track.