After arriving in Loughborough from New Jersey with aspirations to become a professional track athlete, the pandemic soon led Lauren down a slightly different route with an opportunity arising to transfer her skills to bobsled.
The sport relies heavily on a powerful start, similar to track and field, a discipline in which Lauren naturally excels.
After conversations with senior team members and fellow athletes, Lauren answered a call-out and submitted a video résumé to USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, resulting in an invitational three-week camp in Lake Placid, New York.
Speaking to Loughborough Sport, Lauren explained:
“I am now part of the development programme and this has given me the chance to compete alongside and cheer on veteran Team USA athletes. I’m learning every day from them and would not have been able to fall in love with the sport without them.
“Surrounded by such amazing and talented people helps me want to be the best athlete I can be to make them proud. That being said, there is something truly unique about the opportunity to represent my country on the international stage.
“I look forward to trying to earn my spot on the national team as I continue to work with the Team USA coaches towards prepping me to make my first World Cup Team and Olympic Games down the line.
“Being selected to represent your country in anything you do is a big deal. For me, it’s a dream come true.”
With the 2026 Winter Olympics now confirmed to take place in Milan, Lauren - who completed a master’s in Marketing in 2020 – has her sights firmly set on qualification:
“Going into this sport, my main goal was to be a sponge and learn as much as I could and this patient approach helped me progress quicker than I anticipated,” explained Lauren.
“I ended up being presented with two opportunities to either become a bobsled pilot or a brakeman. After talking with the coaches, they said becoming a pilot would be my best chance to go to the Olympic Games.
“I am very happy with the outcome of this season and remain excited to focus on trying to make the 2026 winter Olympic Games as a bobsled pilot.”
Lauren’s sporting journey hasn’t always been as smooth as ice, though. Prior to joining Loughborough, she was awarded a Division One track scholarship at Elon University, North Carolina before the injuries struck.
“I suffered from a few major hamstring injuries that hurt my performances most of my sophomore season and I felt that I didn’t accomplish what I wanted to on the track,” Lauren explained.
“That is when I discovered the opportunity to study a master’s degree in the UK whilst continuing my athletic career.
“When I learned Loughborough has the most successful student athletics club in the country and that my application for a 40% international sport scholarship was successful, I knew it was the perfect fit for me. I was a member of the first team athletics programme, which allowed me to travel around the UK and represent Loughborough.”
And just as Lauren was getting her feet back in the starting blocks, the Covid-19 outbreak was beginning to make front-page news around the world.
“Unfortunately, because of Covid I did not get an outdoor season, but I was able to anchor the 4 x200 team at the BUCS indoor national championship. It was the best experience of my life being with such amazing coaches and athletes and I would give anything to be back across the pond tearing it up on the track,” she said.
Now residing back in the USA and splitting her training schedule out of north New Jersey and the Olympic Training Center, Lauren can begin to look forward and put her degree to good use.
“Since bobsled is self-funded, I’m in search of a job that will help fund my finances - the trick will be finding a work setting that is supportive of my Olympic hopeful journey.
“With the pandemic, I am hopeful that I can perhaps find a remote marketing job and I also hope to use the skills I have developed as an athlete and from my Marketing Masters course to give motivational speeches and market myself as an athlete.”
Throughout Lauren’s Loughborough journey she was supported by Lucy Pandit from the University’s International Office:
“Lauren was a great asset to the Loughborough family from day one, not only working hard in the classroom and on the track but also representing the University as an International Student Helper.
“Not many people are aware that athletic eligibility restrictions do not apply in the UK and US student-athletes can continue competing whilst studying a master’s degree at Loughborough. We welcome student-athletes from all divisions and sports, and we are here to help individuals every step of the way.”
With the sporting world slowly starting to get back on its feet, Lauren - and indeed all at Loughborough - will be keeping a keen eye on what the next few years may bring.