Olympic team contender

Emily Azevedo is one step closer to her Olympic dreams

Chico High graduate and standout athlete Emily Azevedo is one step closer to her Olympic quest in bobsledding.

The 26-year-old Azevedo, a push athlete or brakewoman, and her longtime partner, Washington native bobsled pilot Bree Schaaf, were selected to the U.S. World Cup team. In January, the women together placed first at the USA Women’s Nationals in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Azevedo and Schaaf are now training on the Olympic track in Whistler, British Columbia, a resort town near the home of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver this February. The next stop is Park City, Utah, for the World Cup season.

The Olympic team will be named on Jan. 23, following the conclusion of the World Cup tour. In a statement, Darrin Steele, CEO of the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, said the selection committee made some difficult choices to narrow the field: “This is inarguably the best team we’ve ever fielded in an Olympic season.”