The Winter Olympics are officially underway in Sochi, Russia, and if you weren't already cheering for the United States of America. . .and if not, why not (unless you're from another country, which is excusable), fans of the Minnesota Vikings have a bit of a connection to one of this year's Olympians.
One of the members of this year's women's bobsled team is Aja Evans. Aja (pronounced "Asia," like the continent) is a member of one of the three United States two-women bobsled efforts in this year's Olympics. Her older brother is Minnesota Vikings' defensive tackle Fred Evans. As you can see from the video below, athleticism definitely runs in the Evans family.
Aja's role on her sled, which she'll be traveling in with Jamie Grubel, is that of the "brakeman." Grubel will serve as the driver. So, what does the brakeman do? Well, NBC Sports was kind enough to explain, as is Olympic.org. Basically, it's Evans' job to give the sled as much speed and momentum at the beginning of the race as possible, while Grubel will be piloting the sled and trying to keep it on the optimum line on the course. Evans will also have to slow the sled down at key times in order to keep it from losing control on the track.
Aja Evans was a track and field athlete in college at the University of Illinois, actually competing in the Olympic trials in the shot put in the 2008 Olympics. She was also a sprinter in college, and those skills appear to have translated nicely to the bobsled course.
Here's hoping that Aja Evans and Jamie Grubel can bring home a gold medal from Sochi during this year's Winter Olympics.