The eyes of the track & field world will turn to Lake Placid, N.Y., of all places, today at the USA Bobsled Push Championships take place.
Why track & field? Well, there will be a number of big names from the world of track competing, including heptathlete Hyleas Fountain and hurdler Lolo Jones. Fountain announced her intention to compete on Facebook earlier this week and then quickly removed the post, while Jones’ participation was reported by the Associated Press on Thursday.
This is not the first time that track athletes have tried to convert their track & field success into a winter opportunity. Willie Gault, Herschel Walker and Edwin Moses all tried. Vonetta Flowers, a seven-time NCAA track & field All-American at UAB, switched to bobsled and won gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, but whether Fountain or Jones can follow in those footsteps will be interesting to follow.
Some of those athletes who have already been training in Lake Placid for the 2014 Sochi Games also come from a track & field background. A former Ivy League multi-event champion Jamie Gruebel, who represented Cornell, will be battling with the big-name tracksters in today’s event.
The Skeleton Push Championships were held last week and former Princeton long jumper Nathan Crumpton — who has been a wonderful photographer for us here at HepsTrack.com — was a close third in the skeleton event. Crumpton detailed his experience in email:
“This was a nail biter of an event. We all knew the men’s side would be close going into Push Championships, but I don’t think anyone predicted that the top three finishers would be separated by three hundredths of a second. John [Daly] set the tone by pushing a 4.85s in the first heat and setting a new track record by 0.01 seconds. Luckily I was able to respond with a matching 4.85s to keep me in the hunt. After he pushed an identical 4.85 in the second heat, I thought that opened up a small opportunity for me to take the win, but my second push just didn’t materialize as intended. One step was just slightly off balance and that’s all it took to lose that little bit of speed and power. And then Mitch [Danbe] came back with a monster push and new track record of 4.83s to leapfrog into second place.
“Overall I’m glad I was able to push a PR and end up on the podium, especially with limited offseason push practice, but it’s also a bit of a disappointment to be so close to winning and coming up just short. John definitely deserved to win though. He’s an Olympian and four-time National Push Champion, and he proved that on the track with two consistently fast runs.
“Now I’ve just got to translate these push times to the ice, work on my piloting skills, and keep on fundraising for the international travel I’m expected to do this season.”
If you are interested in supporting Nathan’s pursuit, visit his website and contact him there.