Gibbs, Meyers Taylor, Holcomb win US bobsled push titles in first official event of season

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LAKE PLACID, New York — Elana Meyers Taylor and Steven Holcomb started a new bobsled season in familiar fashion — by winning.

Lauren Gibbs won the women's USA National Bobsled Push Championship on Friday, while Meyers Taylor and Holcomb won the pilot push titles. The push championships are a prerequisite for any athlete who wants to be on the national team this winter, and help decide who will slide in what sled when team trials start in Lake Placid next month.

"Winning gives me more of a boost to go harder in my workouts to get ready for ice and I'm confident that my work this summer paid off," Gibbs said.

The second-year slider finished her two pushes in 9.53 seconds. Rookie Kehri Jones finished in 9.54 seconds, and Lolo Jones — one of 10 Americans to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympics, first in track and field before she started in bobsledding — was third in 9.58 seconds.

Lolo Jones doesn't plan on bobsledding this season, focusing instead on her plans to make the U.S. team headed to the Rio Olympics next summer. She competed after just one day of push training, following the recent end of her outdoor international hurdling season, and said it's easy to find ways that bobsledding helps her track career.

"Pushing a 400-pound bobsled really helps me have an amazing track start," she said.

Meyers Taylor — a two-time Olympic medalist — topped Katie Eberling and Jamie Greubel Poser for the women's pilot title. It was the seventh start title for Meyers Taylor, the fourth since she transitioned to driving.

Holcomb, a three-time Olympic medalist, beat Geoff Gadbois and Hunter Church in the men's pilot event. Codie Bascue had faster times than Holcomb, but was disqualified for stepping over the start line.

Nick Cunningham, John Napier and Justin Olsen — an Olympic gold medalist as a push athlete in Holcomb's sled at the 2010 Vancouver Games who is now starting his driving career — did not race Friday because of their respective U.S. Army commitments. They competed in a preliminary push championships last month to meet their qualification to race this season.

The men's push athlete championship is Saturday.

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