There are five African-American athletes to keep an eye on during the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi in Krasnodar Krai, Russia.
Speed skater Shani Davis, along with women’s bobsled members Lolo Jones, Lauryn Williams, Aja Evans and Jasmine Fenlator, are each in position to help make American history in the Winter Olympics.
Davis, 31, already made history by becoming the first Black male athlete to win a Winter Games Olympic individual sport medal when he won gold in the 1000-meter speed skating event at the 2006 Olympics at Turin. He won gold in the same event at the 2010 Winter Games at Vancouver, and could become the first American to ever win three straight Winter Games Olympic gold medals if he wins the 1000-meter again in Sochi.
Unlike Davis, though already seasoned Olympians, Jones and Williams will be performing in their first Winter Games, both as members of the USA women’s bobsled team. Jones, 31, is one of the most famous hurdlers for team USA, but switched to bobsled with hopes of earning her first ever Olympic medal. She fell just short of winning a medal as a hurdler during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, finishing in 4th place in the 100-meter hurdlers.
According to reports, Jones persuaded Williams to join her on the women’s bobsled team to help her chances at taking the gold at Sochi. Williams, 30, won a gold medal during the Summer Games in London with the women’s 4x100-meter relay team. If she wins a gold medal in the women’s bobsled event, she’ll become the first woman to ever win a gold medal in both the summer and winter Olympics.
A win for Williams and Jones would also mean a gold medal for Evans and Fenlator, too. Evans, 25, who competed in the shot put and sprinting in college, is the brakeman for the team, and Fenlator, 28, will serve as the diver. All four women are looking to become the only African-American women to win a Winter Olympic medal besides Vonette Flowers, the first ever Black athlete to win a Winter Olympic medal when she won gold in the 2-man bobsled event in 2002 Olympics at Salt Lake City.