A week after winning a silver medal at the Sochi Olympics, U.S. bobsledder Elana Meyers started training for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio.
For a sport she's never played, or even watched in person: rugby. Three weeks later, she made the national rugby sevens team and will compete in an Olympic qualifying event in China on April 5-6. USA Rugby announced its roster for the next leg of the Seven World Series Saturday.
"It's been crazy," Meyers said about her own version of March Madness. "The girls have been awesome, teaching me how to play the game. But it's been a sharp learning curve."
While training for bobsled at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., Meyers met head coach Ric Suggitt who suggested she give rugby a try after Sochi. Though bobsled and rugby have little in common, Meyers, who played softball at George Washington University in D.C., picked up the game, if not the cardio, quickly.
Meyers said probably ran more during her first day of rugby training than she did in her entire bobsled career. She's also trying to get used to moving laterally.
"I'm offsides all the time," she said. "I want to run forward and push the ball. I just need to calm down and be patient."
This is the first time rugby sevens will be included in the Olympics (rugby union was last played at the Olympics in 1924), and the U.S. men and women, known as the Eagles, still have to qualify for Rio. The Sevens World Series is the first of three Olympic qualifying events during the next two years. The women's Sevens World Series is a tournament among 12 teams held during a six-month period at five spots around the world. China is the fourth Series stop.
Oddly enough, the other person in Meyers' sled in Sochi now holds Winter and Summer Olympic medals. With the silver, Lauryn Williams became just the fifth person to win Winter and Summer medals in different disciplines. She took silver in the 100 meters in Athens in 2004.