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2014 Sochi Winter Olympians to Watch: Speed Skater Sugar Todd and Bobsledder Aja Evans

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  • When the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics begins, it will be the culmination of years of hard work for hundreds of athletes all over the world.  Some of those athletes have been working at it since they were small children, while others were recruited as adults from other sports.  Let’s take a look at one athlete from each category: speed skating’s Sugar Todd and bobsled’s Aja Evans
     
    Sugar Todd
    Speed Skating
     
    Sugar Todd was a Nebraska farm girl when, at the age of eight, she joined the Omaha Speed Skating Club. A year later she moved with her mother to Milwaukee, WI to train at the Pettit National Ice Center.  Todd secured her first major win in 2003 and went on to make a name for herself in junior competitions. 
     
    After surgery on her shins in 2006 she began working her way to the 2010 Olympic trials. She was unable to earn an Olympic berth, however, failing to make it into the top 10 in any of her events.  Undeterred, she got back to work and secured a bronze medal in the 500 meters at the 2012 US Single Distance Championships.
     
    Click the screen below to watch Sugar racing

     
    When the 2014 Olympic trials rolled around earlier this month, Todd was ready. In the 500 meters, which she considers her specialty, her time was fast enough to earn her a spot on the US Olympic Team.  Her happiness was short-lived, however, when she realized her parents could not afford to travel to Sochi to watch her compete in person.
     
    In stepped the internet. Todd set up an account at GoFundMe.com to raise money to get her parents to Sochi. Within 24 hours the Todd family was good to go, and they will be proudly cheering their daughter on at the Winter Olympics.
     
    It is a good thing they will, since Sugar Todd considers her parents to be her greatest influence.  What a culmination it would be if she medals at Sochi, but even if she doesn’t it should be a happy time for the Todd family at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
     
    Aja Evans
    Bobsled
     
    Aja Evans began her athletic career as a track and field athlete, excelling at sprints and shot put while competing in them at the University of Illinois.  Evans also was good enough to compete in the 2008 Olympic Trials.
     
    Coming from an athletic family partly explains why it was so easy for Evans to switch from track and field to bobsled.  Her brother Fred plays for the Minnesota Vikings.  Her uncle Gary Mathews played and coached Major League Baseball and her cousin Gary, Jr was also a big leaguer.  So, when 2012 rolled around Evans made a smooth transition to bobsled 
     
    Click the screen below to watch Aja training

     
    In her rookie season, Evans won the 2012 US National Push Championship title. As a brakeman for drivers Jamie Greubel, Elana Meyers and Jazmine Fenlator, she won both a bronze and silver medal during the 2012-13 season.   During 2013-14 Evans worked with Elana Meyers and won two gold and two silver in World Cup competition.
     
    She will now be competing in her first Olympics. While there she will keep her favorite quote in mind, a Bible verse from the book of Proverbs, chapter 16, verse three: “Commit your activities to the Lord and your plans will be achieved.”
     
    Evans hopes to achieve at least a podium in Olympic bobsled competition, but don’t be surprised if this talented athlete achieves the ultimate: a gold medal.
     
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    Sport: It’s A Female Thing!

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