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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Olympic Hopefuls Gain Support through DICK’S Sporting Goods

Sara Escobar

Evening Star

As the school year begins, parents and children will be gearing up for back-to-school shopping across the country. Something families may not know is that when they head to their local DICK’S Sporting Goods store to stock up on gear and equipment for various sports programs, they are likely to encounter Olympic athlete hopefuls. These athletes are part of DICK’S Sporting Goods Contenders Program, which offers financial stability, a flexible working schedule and competitive salary while those who qualify train to represent team USA in the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics Games.

Courtesy Photo
Olympian Elana Meyers-Taylor (right) and Kehri Jones (left) flash a thumbs up after winning the Women’s Bobsled World Championship last year.

DICK’S Sporting Goods is the largest U.S. based, full-line omni-channel sporting good retailer and is the official sporting goods retail sponsor of Team USA. Last year, the company announced that it would support over 180 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Contenders through flexible employment opportunities and sponsorship agreements. Sources state that these Contenders are working in over 30 states across the country—including right here in Harker Heights.

25-year-old Kehri Jones has lived Killeen, Texas and is currently working at the DICK’S Sporting Goods store in Harker Heights. After finishing high school at the age of 16, she attended Baylor University where she was a top recruit for the track and field program. Unfortunately, she suffered injuries a few seasons into her track career at Baylor, and she began to grow discouraged. Olympian Elana Meyers-Taylor took notice of Jones and persuaded her to try out for the national Bobsled team. At the encouragement and support of her coach, Meyers-Taylor, and her family, Jones tried out for the team. In her first season of competing in 2016, she broke a world record.

Bobsledding consists of sliding down a natural or artificial ice-covered incline on a four-runner sled that carries two to four people. Developed in the 1880s, the sport earned its name after competitors adopted the technique of bobbing back and forth to increase the speed of the sled.

Jones is also a World Cup Gold and Silver Medalist, a Europa Gold Cup Medalist, a 2015 Preliminary Push Champion, and a 2015 National Push Champion Runner-Up. Jones is planning to make her first Olympic appearance in 2018—defying all odds as one of the youngest in the sport at this level. Jones is a lot smaller than the average bobsledder, but one of the fastest, making her a valuable asset to Team USA. “I believe that nothing is impossible,” Jones has been quoted saying, “You can always defy the odds. All you have to do is try.”

Even with all her success in the sport to date, Jones understands the financial, emotional and physical struggles that Olympic hopefuls face while training to represent the country in the Olympic Games. “I credit a lot of my success to the career opportunities that DICK’S has provided for me while I train,” said Jones, “I don’t have to worry about paying bills or getting together extra money.” Jones is currently a Store Associate in the Footwear Department at the DICK’S location in Harker Heights.

DICK’S announced a multi-faceted partnership in February 2015. The partnership includes the in-store employment program, sporting goods and equipment donations to the U.S. Olympic Training Centers and sponsorships to Team USA hopefuls to help them pursue their Olympic and Paralympic dreams.

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