Hurdles champ Pittman targets Olympic bobsleigh
SYDNEY (AFP) –
Australian two-time 400m hurdles world champion Jana Pittman is swapping a career on the track for a bobsled and hopes to make the team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Pittman, who won the 400m hurdles at the 2003 Paris world championships and four years later in Osaka, Japan, recently hung up her spikes after a foot injury ruined her plans to compete at this year’s London Olympics.
Reports have previously said she was aiming to represent Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympics as a rower, but she has now switched her focus to bobsleigh, hoping to mirror the efforts of American hurdler Lolo Jones.
Pittman told reporters she will head for Europe this month to team up with Astrid Radjenovic, hoping to become her full-time racing partner in the two-woman event.
Radjenovic, who represented Australia at the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics, is essentially a certainty to be Australia’s bobsleigh pilot, and Pittman wants to give her the fastest possible start.
“Astrid is only a tenth, two tenths of a second off the leaders so she has been looking for someone with a lot of speed and power for a while,” said Pittman.
“If we can train well — I am committed to it 100 percent — hopefully we can become top six at the Olympics.
“You just don’t know — it’s a very different sport. I have the physical attributes, it’s just now whether I can put it together in the split second we take off.”
Pittman is following in the footsteps of Jones, who was favourite to win the 100m hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but tripped on the penultimate hurdle.
In October she was named to the US national bobsled team as a brakeman.