Sara Villani was identified as a potential bobsleigh brakewoman at a 2018 RBC Training Ground event. At the time, she was coming off a collegiate track and field career that had had its share of ups and downs.
As a freshman multi-eventer at Western University, she won the Canadian junior title in the heptathlon in 2015 and went on to finish sixth at that year’s Pan American Junior Championships in Edmonton. In 2016, she won the OUA title in the pentathlon, but did so with a bone bruise in her ankle, sustained when she miscalculated a step in one of her long jump warmups. She was the top-ranked athlete heading into what are now the USports Championships but was forced to withdraw during her second event because of the injury.
After that experience, she decided to focus on the throws and in her final year at Western, she won the silver medal in the shot put at the 2019 USports Championships.
Having had her first experience in a bobsleigh in December 2018, Villani was named to the national development team in the fall of 2019. She competed in her first international races on the North American Cup circuit in 2019-20, winning three bronze medals in Park City with pilot Melissa Lotholz.
Villani made her IBSF World Cup debut in January 2021 as the Canadian team only competed in the second half of the pandemic-impacted season. With pilot Christine de Bruin, Villani achieved a career-high fourth-place finish in Kõnigssee. Villani made her world championship debut in 2021 in de Bruin’s sled. During the 2021-22 World Cup season, Villani was reunited with Lotholz. In her Olympic debut at Beijing 2022, Villani placed 12th in the two-woman event with Lotholz.
A Little More About Sara
Getting into the Sport: Began competing in provincial level gymnastics at age 9 before competing in track and field at the junior and university level… Was introduced to bobsleigh at age 22… Outside Interests: Graduated from Western University in 2019 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts, double major in Psychology and Thanatology…
Notable International Results
Olympic Winter Games: 2022 - 12th (2-woman w/ Lotholz)
IBSF World Championships: 2021 - 16th (2-woman)
Pan American Junior Championships (athletics): 2015 - 6th (heptathlon)