AUSTIN (KXAN) — We’re just 99 days out from the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.
By far, the sport with the most Olympic hopefuls from Texas is the bobsled team. One of the athletes to watch is from Killeen, Kehri Jones.
She’s at the top of her game, but recently experienced one of her toughest moments yet with the loss of her great-grandmother.
“Losing her on such an important year is really hard,” said Jones, wiping away the tears.
While training to make her Olympic dream come true, Jones had to make an unexpected trip home in July to attend the funeral.
She says the loss came much earlier than expected, but she’s thankful her great-grandmother has been there to follow her success on the ice for the last two years.
“My great-grandmother is a fighter,” Jones said. “And she never let anybody tell her that she couldn’t do something, and if they did she would go after it even harder.”
Jones was a high school track star who went on to run at Baylor University where she graduated.
“Running on ice is just like running on the track, and I was a power sprinter so the same power that I used to power down the track I use to power and push the sled,” Jones said.
She was inspired by sprinter-turned-bobsledder Lauryn Williams in the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.
Like Williams, Jones is one of the shortest competitors at just 5-feet-2 inches tall, and one of the youngest at age 23. She was born 10 years after her teammate, two-time Olympian Elana Myers Taylor, who won silver in Sochi with Williams.
“Kehri’s biggest quality is her speed and her strength,” Taylor said. “She is a 5-2 dynamo.”
Jones wants her grandmother’s legacy to live on through her lessons of drive and determination.
“The majority of the time she would prove them wrong, and that’s what I’m all about I’m about proving people wrong,” Jones said.
Jones will find out if she makes the Olympic cut in December, just weeks before the opening ceremony in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Erin Cargile will travel to cover the Winter Olympics in February.