According to one athlete with knowledge of the situation, Olympic hopefuls Lolo Jones and Aja Evans were involved in a fight at a Lake Placid bar last Friday night that pitted the two against the stepdaughter of a US Bobsled and Skeleton Federation hall of famer.
Jones, the track star who's less than a year into her quest to make the 2014 Olympics in bobsled (but already has a world championship gold medal under her belt), is in Lake Placid training with the US Team ahead of an all-important Olympic tuneup later this month.
The altercation took place after 1 a.m. at Roomers Night Club, on the small town's main drag. While it's not clear what caused the fight (see update below), our source tells us that Jones and Evans fought the stepdaughter of Tony Carlino, the former head of Team USA who currently runs the track at Lake Placid.
This tweet was sent out early Saturday morning (and has since been deleted):
Others, collected by Black Sports Online, put Jones at the bar Friday night.
Former Olympic swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen mentioned the fight yesterday on her Fox Sports radio show. You can listen to it at the 34-minute mark here. Van Dyken-Rouen's account adds that Jones "knocked out" Carlino's stepdaughter.
Van Dyken-Rouen reported the same thing our athlete source told us: that federation officials gathered athletes and specifically told them to keep the incident quiet.
One possible reason for the hush edict: the National Bobsled Push Championships, which begin next week in Calgary. There, "push athletes"—those competitors who get the sled up to speed before jumping in, a group that includes Jones and Evans, both originally track and field athletes—will compete to be placed with the country's top bobsled teams. A good showing at Calgary would all but guarantee a push athlete a trip to Sochi for the 2014 Olympics.
Our source believes that if this incident involved any other athlete besides Jones, USBSF would have acted already. Our source says that Jones, a known name that brings the sport a ton of press, seems to receive special treatment, and the federation may not want to bring attention to anything that could endanger her Olympic qualification.
Know any more about what went down Friday in Lake Placid? Email us.
Update: We spoke with two people at the bar who witnessed the altercation. They both tell us that Carlino's stepdaughter was visibly intoxicated, and verbally confronted Jones and Evans near the dance floor. Jones pushed the stepdaughter to the ground, the witnesses said, and left the bar.
The stepdaughter followed outside, where she and athletes were separated by bouncers.
Update No. 2: Via USA Today:
USA Bobsled & Skeleton is looking into the allegations and speaking to the athletes and witnesses that were at the bar Friday night, said USBSF spokesperson Amanda Bird.
"We are treating this like we have with any other situation by investigating to see if there is a code of conduct violation," Bird wrote in an email.
Part of that investigation may include a review of video of the incident. Whether it's surveillance footage or from a cell phone, we're assured a video does exist.