KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — The crash didn't break them, it bonded them.
Lauryn Williams and Elana Meyers laughed off smashing their bobsled into a wall a few days ago, knowing this wasn't the time to let anything get in their way of winning an Olympic medal.
The gold is right in front of them now.
And for Williams, a special place in Olympic history is within reach.
Williams, a former sprint champion who decided to give bobsled a whirl six months ago, and Meyers lead at the halfway point of women's Olympic bobsled, which has turned into a three-team race with two of them decked out in red, white and blue.
With Williams using her world-class speed to propel her teammate off the starting line, Meyers made two trips down the Sanki Sliding Center track in 1 minute, 54.89 seconds on Tuesday to open a 0.23-second lead over Canada's Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse, trying to win their second straight title after getting gold in Vancouver.
USA-2's Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans are in third, 0.56 back of their teammates, who know anything can happen in Wednesday's final two heats.
"It feels pretty good but we've got a lot of work to do," said Meyers, who won bronze in Vancouver pushing for Erin Pac. "Kaillie's a great driver. Jamie's driving great as well. It's not over."
Williams, a two-time sprint medalist in the Summer Olympics, is attempting to join Eddie Eagan as the only athletes to win gold medals in different sports in both the Winter and Summer Games. It wasn't long ago that Williams made her first harrowing ride down an icy mountain track, unsure if she wanted to stick with a sport so foreign from the one she'd known.
She's feeling at home now.
"Anytime I step on any track, ice track, regular track, any kind of track, my goal is to win," she said. "So I'm not surprised at all. We prepared well, we did everything we're supposed to do and we know we're as good as the rest of the field."
Meyers, of Douglasville, Ga., and Williams, of Rochester, Pa., got off to a shaky start in their first days on the mountain. Meyers crashed her BMW-built sled on their initial training run, and Williams was late applying the brakes the following day and the pair blasted into a wall near the finish, damaging the front end of the carbon-fibered sliding machine.
However, the incident didn't crack their relationship.
"The chemistry's been building the whole time, but I think after we wrecked the sled the other day, that's when it was solidified," Meyers said.
Williams was grateful for her driver's patience.
"That was a bonding moment," Williams said. "She didn't yell at all. She was emotional about the sled but she didn't freak. 'E' handled it like a pro."
While one American track star is nearing a medal, the more celebrated one is further away.
This time, Lolo Jones isn't close.