Who is Aja Evans?
Evans was originally a track and field athlete. She was a five-time All-American as a shot put thrower at the University of Illinois, where she won three Big Ten titles. After failing to make the Olympic team in 2008, she decided to continue her athletic pursuit on the ice.
Evans pushed Jamie Greubel Poser to the bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. She also pushed Greubel Poser to the bronze medal at the 2017 World Championships.
Evans set a start record during the 2012 USA Bobsled National Push Championships.
Evans used to train with NFL running back Matt Forte when her brother, Fred Evans, played in the NFL. According to Evans, Forte “liked working out with me because I could stick with him. I could step right into an OTA, I just got to learn how to read the playbook.”
“I came in wanting to take over [the sport],” Evans said to ESPN during her modeling appearance in the magazine’s body issue.
2014: Bronze medal
Off the ice
Evans comes from a family of elite athletes. Her father, Fred Evans, was the first African-American swimmer to win a national collegiate title in swimming in 1975. Her brother Fred (of the same name) played defensive tackle in the NFL for eight seasons, seven with the Minnesota Vikings. Her uncle is Gary Matthews, and both he and his son, Gary Matthews Jr., were longtime Major League Baseball outfielders.
Evans tried to compete as a track and field athlete in the 2016 Rio Olympics, but tore her ACL during preliminary training. Since has since focused all of her attention towards bobsledding.