Sochi Watch: Bobsledder Lauryn Williams is Two Minutes Away From Gold

The Rochester native could become one of the most improbable gold medal winners in Olympic history. Find out why.




Illustration by Jordan Merchant
 

 

A year ago, Lauryn Williams had never been inside a bobsled.

A month ago, Lauryn Williams wasn’t yet guaranteed a spot in Sochi.

Today, the Rochester, Pa. native is two minutes away from becoming the second athlete (and first woman) in history to win gold medals at both the summer and winter Olympic games.

Pushing the USA-1 sled in the first two rounds of competition today, Williams and driver Elana Meyers recorded the fastest time in both heats, at 57.26 seconds in the first and 57.63 in the second. Scoring in the bobsled competition is cumulative, so Williams and Meyers sit in gold-medal position with a combined time of 1 minute, 54.89 seconds at the competition’s halfway mark; they lead the defending gold medalists, Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse of Canada, by a scant 0.23 seconds.

If that seems like a slim margin, it is. Williams and Meyers will have to keep up today’s world-class performance through two more runs tomorrow to fend off the formidable Canadian squad — as well as the rest of the field, including fellow Americans Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans in third place. (Another track star turned bobsled pusher, Lolo Jones, and driver Jazmine Fenlator, sit in 11th place after today’s races.)

If Williams and Meyers can hold on, though, Western Pennsylvania will have a new champion. It’s been 82 years since boxer and bobsledder Eddie Eagan become the first person to win gold in the summer and the winter games; we shouldn’t be surprised that the City of Champions would send someone to break that drought.


*
 

A quick hockey update: it will indeed be a rematch for the gold in the women’s tournament, as Canada advanced to the gold-medal game with a 3-1 victory over Switzerland yesterday. Canada won a preliminary-round clash with the U.S. by an airtight 3-2 margin, so Thursday’s battle for the gold should be a good one; it’s scheduled for 12:00 noon.

Meanwhile, this morning’s men’s hockey qualification round saw some expected results and one stunning upset. Russia dispatched with Norway, 4-0, and will advance to face Olli Maatta, Jussi Jokinen and the rest of the Finnish team; if Geno wants a shot at a rematch with the U.S., he’ll have to get by his young teammates first. Slovenia beat Austria 4-0, and will face Sweden in the quarterfinals. Previously-hapless Latvia, who recorded no wins and only 5 goals through the prelims, dealt a shocking, 3-1 defeat to the heavily-favored Swiss, and will face Canada tomorrow; can Latvia’s Cinderella story continue with an upset of Crosby and company? (Spoiler alert: for real, no.)

And Jaromir Jagr and his Czech brethren bested Slovakia 5-3 for the right to play Team USA tomorrow. A few years ago, Dan Bylsma nearly became Jagr’s coach in a much-ballyhooed effort to get the all-star back in black and gold; that fell apart, and we’ll be watching as Bylsma, Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin attempt to send Jags back to Prague in a small measure of revenge.

The updated matchups and schedule for tomorrow are below; for the voracious Olympic viewer, I’ve interspersed the women’s bobsled schedule, so you can take a break from a big morning of hockey to see Lauryn Williams race into history. Hockey games featuring Penguins in bold.
 

Wednesday

3:00 a.m. — Sweden vs. Slovenia

7:30 a.m. — Finland vs. Russia

11:15 a.m. — Women’s Bobsled, Heat 3

12:00 noon — Canada vs. Latvia

12:00 noon — U.S.A. vs. Czech Republic

12:15 p.m. — Women’s Bobsled, Final Heat


Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Lace up your sneakers or hiking boots and head outdoors for 10 great walks for spring.
412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

Local nonprofit organization 412 Food Rescue is taking food that otherwise would be tossed aside and connecting it with those in need through-of-the-moment technology.
Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Fashion is white haute this spring with the best looks from local stores.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

The Heinz History Center’s World War II traveling exhibit focuses on western Pennsylvania’s ties to history.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Kamayan Feast Coming To Kaya in the Strip District

Kamayan Feast Coming To Kaya in the Strip District

Executive Chef Ben Sloan will offer a festive, eat-with-your-hands spread on Tuesday nights.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


The (Very Good) Brewery You Should Be Patronizing in Homestead

The (Very Good) Brewery You Should Be Patronizing in Homestead

Voodoo Brewery is an enticing alternative to the many chains in and around the Waterfront.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers’ Philosophy Back on Display After Hightower Flirtation

Steelers’ Philosophy Back on Display After Hightower Flirtation

Even as they entertained Dont’a Hightower for nearly seven hours during a free-agent recruiting trip to the South Side, the Steelers never lost sight of who they are or what they’re all about.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Turn Your Bath into a Spa with These Oils

Turn Your Bath into a Spa with These Oils

The miniature bath- and shower-oil collection from Aromatherapy Associates makes every shower a luxury experience.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The CMU Film Fest Opens with One of 2016's Best

The CMU Film Fest Opens with One of 2016's Best

Reviews of two films appearing at the 2017 Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival: "I, Daniel Blake," and "The Eagle Huntress." Plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
#Wedding: What’s Trending in the Wedding World

#Wedding: What’s Trending in the Wedding World

Married couples talk hashtags — and why they used them at their weddings.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Get the Scoop Behind One of Pittsburgh’s Most Unique Condos

Get the Scoop Behind One of Pittsburgh’s Most Unique Condos

The Carnegie Museum of Art’s new exhibit features the works of architect Arthur Lubetz and Front Studio, including the vibrant Glass Lofts Building in Garfield.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
New Club is a Hit at Thiel College

New Club is a Hit at Thiel College

The Outdoor Recreation Club becomes the newest student organization at the college.

Comments

Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags