Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Brake-Through Shot Lauryn Williams Is Poised to Make Olympic History on a U.S. Bobsled, Has Top Team in First after 2 Runs

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Brake-Through Shot Lauryn Williams Is Poised to Make Olympic History on a U.S. Bobsled, Has Top Team in First after 2 Runs

Article excerpt

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia -- When things were simpler, when Lauryn Williams was just a college student who wasn't necessarily trying to win an Olympic medal but did it anyway, she would experience this sensation.

She would come to depend on it, like that old friend who is always there, and for years now, Williams has been searching for it.

In 2010, she took a year off from sprinting and traveled the world. That was eye-opening, sure, but she would return to track and field, helping the U.S. team win gold in the 100-meter relay at the 2012 London Games by running a semifinal heat.

Still, this sensation alluded her, and she retired from track and field in 2013.

Tuesday night, on a rainy mountain, participating in an event that she only had known for seven months, Williams found it.

Finally.

"I got on that line and I knew something good was going to happen. Because I was literally ready to jump out of my skin, and that's a feeling I hadn't had in a while in track and field," she said. "It's good to have that feeling back, and I know what that means. That means going fast."

The U.S. bobsled team is glad to have Williams, 30, who graduated high school in Rochester, Beaver County, pushing its top driver, Elana Meyers, down the track in the United States 1 sled.

Especially after Tuesday night, when Williams and Meyers used two record-setting starts -- that's Williams' territory right there -- to lead the women's bobsled competition after two heats at the Sanki Sliding Center.

The duo, which had only raced together once before Tuesday but was paired together to maximize the Americans' chance at gold, posted a two-run time of 1:54.89, 0.23 seconds ahead of the Canada 1 sled.

"I did make some mistakes on the track, but I was allowed to because Lauryn, she's a killer back there," Meyers said.

Williams' start times of 5.13 and then 5.12 set track records.

In track, where she won an Olympic silver medal in the 100 at the 2004 Athens Games, she had short legs for a sprinter but made up for it with the power she could generate with the ridiculously high frequency of her steps. …

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