Track star Lolo Jones and Jazmine Fenlator won the bobsled silver medal at the World Cup opener in Lake Placid, N.Y. on Friday, finishing a half-second behind gold medalist Canadian world champ Kaillie Humphries and her brakeman Chelsea Valois.
Jones and Fenlator clocked a time of 1:54.39
“I’m kind of in shock,” said Jones, a two-time 100-meter Olympic hurdler. “We’ve been training with all the other Team USA members. It’s been an inner battle within our team. I think this is great that we had a great run today on race day. I’m so used to just so relying on myself. I’ve never experienced this level of having a team before.”
Fenlator did not expect to win the first World Cup medal of her career with the rookie Jones.
“I’m shocked,” Fenlator said. “In my wildest dreams, I did not think I would make it to the podium.”
Jones was not the only former Olympian to take the podium for the United States. Gold medal 4×100 meter sprinter Tianna Madison and her pilot Elana Meyers finished third, just 0.01 seconds behind Jones and Fenlator.
Madison received nothing but praise from Meyers after taking the bronze her first race.
“It’s pretty awesome; she did great for her first race,” Meyers said. “They are doing tremendous for this team. Just their spirit of competitiveness and willingness to fight for everything brings the whole level of the team up. It’s pretty awesome having them here.”
Meyers played an instrumental role in luring Jones, Madison and Aja Evans – a former shot putter –to give bobsled an attempt.
Madison gave the veterans a lot of credit for instructing them during a difficult transition.
“It was a totally different world for us,” Madison said. “Elana definitely led the charge that helped bring us together as a team.”
The unity that veterans provided showed and carried through on Friday for Team USA. Fenlator recognized how Jones and Madison kept their emotions in check.
“Lolo and Tianna have great experience in high-pressure situations,” Fenlator said. “They stayed really calm, so even though they’re rookies in the sport, you know on game day they’re going to be ready to go.”
U.S. women’s coach Todd Hays said he was proud of their performances and enjoyed every moment of their success.
“It appeared to be a good match to team up the girls the way we did,” he said. “Luckily for me, it worked out.”
Hays say he will continue to play with the rotation of the rookies throughout the World cup season, with the intentions of naming his team heading to the Sochi Games around this time this next year.
While he continues to tweak the rotation, Humphries understands that she has stiff competition behind in her rearview.
“I’m just happy I could prevent a sweep (by the United States),” Humphries said. “All three of the brakemen on the podium were rookies, so I think that’s a testament to our sport. We’ve got some stiff competition with the U.S.”