Watch all three parts of Quest for Gold: Aja Evans:
U.S. bobsled champion Aja Evans grew up on the South Side of Chicago in a family that seemingly bred athletes. Evans watched her brother Fred reach the NFL and play defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings. Before she was even born her uncle Gary Matthews Sr. had finished up a 15-year MLB career and later became the hitting coach for the Chicago Cubs. Even her cousin Gary Matthews Jr. was a productive MLB outfielder for 12 seasons.
Evans, a five-time All-American, had a successful career in both outdoor and indoor track and field at the University of Illinois. But when graduation came she knew it was time to step away from the sport that she had excelled in for nearly a decade. After some initial tentativeness, Evans made a nice transition to the ice and took the bobsled world by storm. She blasted onto the scene after scoring 794 out of a possible 800 points on the combine test, winning the 2012 U.S. National Push Championship title, and breaking the start record with driver Jamie Greubel in the 2012-13 team selection races -- all this in just her rookie campaign.
During a recent World Cup event in Park City, Utah, the United States swept the podium, a feat that has not been accomplished since 2001. Evans took home the prestigious gold medal and is the only bobsledder to compete in every World Cup event, showing her dedication and commitment to the sport she once knew very little about. But thanks to her coach Todd Hays, who is a 2002 Olympic medalist in four-man bobsled, her dream of earning an even more important medal may be within her grasp as she goes for gold in Sochi this February.