Aja Evans is a USA bobsledder competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics. The bobsledding event in the Olympics is set to take place from Feb. 18 and Feb. 25.
Before becoming a phenomenal bobsledder and representing the country in the Olympics, Evans competed in track and field for the University of Illinois.
Who is Aja Evans? 5 things to know
1. Evans is a 5-time All-American track and field athlete from her time at Illinois
Before her time as an Olympian, Evans competed in track and field for the Fighting Illini and became well-decorated. She took seventh at the USA Championships in the shot put in the 2010 outdoor season. In the 2010 indoor season — which was her senior season — she placed 10th overall and eighth of all Americans.
By placing in the top-eight, an athlete earns All-American honors. She also set an Illinois record in the shot put and competed as a sprinter as well.
2. Evans is a part of an extremely athletic family
Evans isn’t the only insanely accomplished athlete in her family. Her brother, Fred, had an eight-year career in the NFL as a defensive tackle. Her father — also named Fred — became the first black swimmer to ever win a national collegiate championship. He did so in 1975.
Lastly, her uncle Gary, played 16 years in the MLB as an outfielder. Gary finished fifth in the MVP voting in 1984.
3. She won a bronze medal in the 2014 Olympics
This isn’t Evans’ first rodeo when it comes to competing in the Olympics. In the 2014 Sochi Games, she earned a bronze medal in the women’s bobsled. In this year’s competition, Evans is with her same duo partner Jamie Greubel Poser.
4. Evans earned the USABS’ Team of the Year Award in 2017
Evans has accomplished many things in her athletic career and in 2017, she won the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation Team of the Year Award. She won the award with her partner, Poser. During their 2016-17 campaign, the duo won a bronze at the World Championships.
5. She started bobsledding in 2012
One would imagine that in order to become an Olympian, you would have to train essentially your entire life to be good enough at a sport or event. For Evans, that wasn’t the case.
Following her track and field career at Illinois, she then picked up bobsledding in 2012 before winning a bronze medal in 2014. She has said in the past, “I was able to use my power and bursts and strength within my legs to transition into shot put, and then used that to transition into bobsled.”