Sochi 2014: How Sprinters Become Bobsledders

February 7, 2014

VIDEO: University of Southern California Professor Jill L. McNitt-Gray explains how the mechanics of a world-class sprinter can translate to the ice.

Contact: Merrill Balassone at (213) 740-6156 or; Michelle Salzman Boston at (213) 821-9311 or

With two Summer Olympians making their debut on the U.S. bobsled team – hurdler Lolo Jones and sprinter Lauryn Williams – it’s clear the track and the ice have more in common than you might think.

Professor Jill L. McNitt-Gray, an expert in biomechanics and sports science with the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, worked with the U.S. Olympic Committee to help American athletes prepare for success at the 2012 London Olympics.

To view a video of McNitt-Gray showing how sprint mechanics translate to success in the bobsled, go to The Olympic bobsled competition will take place Feb. 16 through 23.

McNitt-Gray is also director of the USC Biomechanics Research Laboratory, which uses state-of-the-art biomechanical modeling techniques for athletes. In sports biomechanics, scientists use engineering mechanics, biology and neuroscience to develop 3D dynamic models of the human body, and then use experimental and simulation results to determine the internal and external forces at work on athletes’ bodies when they maintain balance, change directions, sprint, flip or land.

McNitt-Gray can be contacted for interviews at or (213) 740-7902.

For a list of additional Olympics experts, go to

Trojans Competing in the Olympics

USC has a long tradition of nurturing successful Olympic athletes. USC has more Olympians, medalists and gold medalists than any school. Since 1904, 420 Trojan athletes have competed in the summer and winter Games, taking home 135 gold medals (with at least one gold in every summer Olympics since 1912), 88 silver and 64 bronze. There have been four winter Olympians from USC (Randy Gardner, Lyle Nelson, Mike Gonzales and Jung-Hwa Seo).