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Lauryn Williams spent most of her life preparing for her Olympic career as a world-class sprinter. She spent a scant seven months getting ready for her Olympic career as a bobsledder.
The same skill, speed, and power that propelled Ms. Williams to a silver medal in the 2004 Athens summer games, and a gold medal eight years later in London, fueled her trip to the top of the icy track in the mountains of Russia.
Although she and her teammate, Elana Meyers, won a silver medal instead of the gold they were seeking this week, Ms. Williams’ accomplishment was no less remarkable. She was a novice as the brakeman who, just months ago, took her first trip down a sheet of ice in a tiny, two-person bobsled.
The running and pushing involved in the sport came naturally to Ms. Williams, 30, but she described that first ride as “horrific,” akin to riding down a mountain in a washing machine. Nonetheless, she earned a seat in the top U.S. sled at Sochi, behind Ms. Meyers, the driver.
Their second-place finish robbed Ms. Williams of the distinction of being the first female U.S. athlete to win gold in both the winter and summer games, But being a silver medalist is a monumental achievement too.
It puts Ms. Williams in the record books as the first U.S. woman, and only the fifth athlete overall, to win a medal at the summer and winter games. What a run.