The U.S. bobsled federation has let go women’s coach Todd Hays as part of organizational changes the federation says are not related to controversy over the 2014 Olympic team selection and sled pairings. Brian Shimer will replace him and coach both the men’s and women’s teams.
The choice of two-time Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones, who had no global championship experience in bobsled, over two-time world bobsled medalist Katie Eberling as a sled pusher was seen as pandering to the publicity value of having the high-profile Jones on the team.
Jones wound up pushing driver Jazmine Fenlator’s USA-3 sled, which finished a desultory 11th in Sochi.
The other questionable choice involved taking Aja Evans off driver Elana Meyers’ USA-1 sled in favor of three-time track Olympian Lauryn Williams, in her rookie season as a pusher.
That, too, appeared to be linked to the desire to gain attention by giving Williams a better chance to win medals in both Summer and Winter Games
While Meyers and Williams won a silver medal in Sochi, many believe Meyers would have taken gold with Evans in the sled.
Evans won the bronze medal pushing Jamie Greubel in USA-2.
Eberling, of Palos Hills, had won a world bronze (2012) and silver (2013) with Meyers.
The selection process so dismayed Eberling that she isn’t sure she will continue in the sport, although she recently attended a sled driver school.
Evans, a top track and field athlete at Illinois and Morgan Park High School, is in Arizona training for the heptathlon.
Hays drove USA-1 to a silver medal at the 2002 Olympics when the U.S. had its first four-man medals since 1936. The three-time Olympian became U.S. women’s coach in 2011.