Katie Eberling, a seeming shoe-in for the U.S. Olympic bobsled team, saw her hopes dashed Sunday night.
The Palos Hills-based hopeful was up against Lolo Jones, a two-time veteran of the Summer Games, and Emily Azevedo for the final spot on the push crew. In the end Jones was picked and will join Chicago's Aja Evans, Lauryn Williams and a group of eight other Americans on their way to Sochi via the bobsled team.
Eberling's strong resume made her a fierce contender. She landed past world championship medals and won three World Cup bronzes this winter.
Some call Sunday's outcome a part of Olympic politics. Darrin Steele, CEO of the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, called the field extremely tough this year.
"This is the deepest field of push athletes we've ever had," Steele said. "We knew heading into the season that the Olympic selection was going to be extremely difficult. It's a good problem to have, but it meant that some outstanding athletes would not make the Olympic team."
Still it's a disappointment for friends and supports of Eberling, a college volleyball powerhouse and bobsledding star.
She told NBC Olympics last year the transition from volleyball to bobsled was smooth and she was ready for the next step.
"Volleyball's a very explosive sport as well, and so with the exception of moving laterally and the duration of the time you're performing, a lot of the training is pretty similar."
In the first part of team trials, Eberling finished second in the push championship. "It was good," she said. "It was a good first marker. It's a long road, but it's a good first step."