Host City: Sochi, Russia
Venue(s): Sliding Center Sanki, Rzhanaya Polyana
Date Started: February 18, 2014
Date Finished: February 19, 2014
Format: Four runs, total time determined placement.
Much of the publicity surrounded the bobsleigh events at Sochi was centred on the women's events and in particular the efforts of two converts from track and field appearing in American colours. The extrovert hurdler Lolo Jones had been at the centre of the media furore but it was Lauryn Williams, a member of the US team that won gold in the 4×100 metre relay at London 2012 who stood at the brink of a historic triumph. Only once in the history of the Olympic Games had an athlete won gold at both Summer and Winter Games – was Eddie Eagan's unique feat about to be matched after 82 years?
The US team had switched pairings throughout the season but when the Olympic selection was announced she found herself partnering Elana Meyers, the silver medal winner from the 2013 World Championships, and therefore in a strong position to challenge for the title. Their main rivals appeared to be the reigning Olympic champion combination of Canadians Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse who were back together again after Moyse had spent most of the intervening Olympiad competing for Canada international at both rugby and cycling.
Meyers and Williams used their trademark explosive start to shine on the first day of competition and, whilst Meyers' driving may not have been up to the standard of her Canadian rival, they recorded the fastest times on both runs. The Canadians responded by posting the best time on run 3 but the American team still maintained a healthy lead of .11 of a second as they entered the final run. Humphries had a clean and fast ride down the track on her 4th run putting pressure back on the American duo. Meyers and Williams made an excellent start but halfway down the run it deteriorated into a game of pinball between the walls of ice. They recovered a little but the damage was done and the Canadians became the first women to successfully retain an Olympic title. Whilst Williams didn't quite join Eddie Eagan in the ranks of Olympic immortals, she did have the satisfaction of being only the 3rd woman after Clara Hughes and Christa Luding-Rothenburger to medal in both summer and winter. Jamie Greubel drove USA II into the bronze medal position ahead of a Dutch team which recorded its best result in Olympic bobsleigh by placing 4th.