October 26, 2012 12:53 pm
Lolo Jones, the U.S. sprinter who runs the 60- and 100-meter hurdles, was just added to the U.S. bobsledding team roster. That might seem weird, since bobsledding and hurdles aren’t quite the same sport. But they do take some of the same skills—for instance, running really fast.
ESPN explains why a track star might work for the bobsled team:
It was [bobsled coach Todd] Hays who set this idea in motion when he invited U.S. track Olympic veterans Jones, Madison and Hyleas Fountain to the bobsled push championships earlier this month. Hays wanted to have accomplished athletes around his bobsled team to raise morale, and also wanted to see if he could strike gold by tapping into the track world — as bobsled has done countless times in the past — to find someone strong and speedy enough to push sleds.
Jones isn’t the first athlete to bridge the gap between Winter and Summer Olympics. Four people have won medals in both the winter and summer competitions, according to the International Olympic Committee:
Eddie Eagan, USA–Light Heavyweight Boxing gold (1920) and Four-man Bobsled gold (1932).
Jacob Tullin Thams, Norway–Ski Jumping gold (1924) and 8-meter Yachting silver (1936).
Christa Luding-Rothenburger, East Germany–Speed Skating gold at 500 meters (1984) and 1,000m (1988), silver at 500m (1988) and bronze at 500m (1992) and Match Sprint Cycling silver (1988). Luding-Rothenburger is also the only athlete ever to win medals in both Winter and Summer Games in the same year.
Clara Hughes, Canada—Individual Road Race Cycling bronze and Individual Time Trial Cycling bronze (1996) and 5,000 m Speed Skating bronze (2002).
Other Olympians have competed in both, without medaling. Here’s the list from Wikipedia (note that “athletics” is simply a catch all phrase for what we now call track and field):
Jan Bos (cycling 1, speed skating 4, 5 Olympics)
Willie Davenport (bobsleigh 1, athletics 4, 5 Olympics)
Glenroy Gilbert (bobsleigh 1, athletics 4, 5 Olympics)
Max Houben (bobsleigh 4, athletics 1, 5 Olympics)
Terry McHugh (bobsleigh 2, athletics 4, 6 Olympics)
Martin Schützenauer (bobsleigh 4, athletics 1, 5 Olympics)
John Foster, Sr (bobsleigh 1, sailing 5, 6 Olympics)
Jorge Bonnet(bobsleigh 3, judo 2, 5 Olympics)
Susi Erdmann (bobsleigh 3, luge 2, 5 Olympics)
Kateřina Neumannová (cycling 1, cross-country skiing 5, 6 Olympics)
Clara Hughes (cycling 3, speed skating 3, 6 Olympics)
Seiko Hashimoto (cycling 3, speed skating 4, 7 Olympics)
Christa Luding-Rothenburger (cycling 1, speed skating 4, 5 Olympics)
Evgeniya Radanova (cycling 1, speed skating 4, 5 Olympics)
Chris Witty (cycling 1, speed skating 4, 5 Olympics)
Hayley Wickenheiser (ice hockey 4, softball 1, 5 Olympics)
There does seem to be a particular affinity between cycling and speed skating, in addition to bobsled and track. But basically, athletes are athletic. The rest of us will still just have to watch from our couches.
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