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Bobsledder Briauna Jones' Olympic dream almost coming true

William Douglas, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in Olympics

WASHINGTON -- Briauna Jones took the weekend's news that she's going to be an alternate on the women's U.S. bobsled team as both a Olympic dream come true and a dream deferred.

The former UNC Charlotte track star-turned bobsledder was selected as a backup Saturday for the U.S. women's bobsled team that's headed to the 2018 Winter Olympics next month.

She'll travel to Pyeongchang with the women's bobsled team for the Feb. 9-25 Winter Games. But she won't compete unless one of the other brakemen on the women's team suffer injury or illness.

"I was disappointed being named the replacement, because it means that I am not an Olympian," Jones told McClatchy in an email interview Sunday. "But I was happy to be joining my team regardless."

Jones, who works at Dick's Sporting Goods in Charlotte's SouthPark mall, would have likely been an Olympic contestant had the U.S. team qualified three bobsleds for the Winter Games. But Canada edged the U.S. for the third sled at a World Cup tournament in St. Moritz on Saturday.

"Not having three sleds at the Olympic Games for us means that there are (fewer) spots and (fewer) opportunities," she said. "But I was confident that I did all I could do, no matter the outcome."

 

In the end, Winter Olympics veterans Elana Meyers Taylor and Jamie Greubel Poser were named pilots for the two American bobsleds.

Lauren Gibbs and Aja Evans, a returnee from the 2014 Winter Games, were tapped as brakemen -- athletes who help push the nearly 400-pound, missile-shaped bobsled on an iced concrete track.

The competition for the brakeman spots became a battle of the Joneses: Briauna Jones, Kehri Jones, and Lolo Jones, a 2014 U.S. Olympic bobsledder and a hurdler at the 2008 and 2012 summer Olympics in Beijing and London,

"Six push athletes have been battling it out week after week and winning medals on the World Cup circuit this year, but we only have two spots for the games," USA Bobsled & Skeleton CEO Darrin Steele said. "The selection committee chose the athletes they think have the best chance of bringing home hardware from Korea for Team USA."

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