Georgia Native and Olympic Bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor Proves Nothing Will Keep Her from Going for Gold

The mother of one already has two silver and one bronze medal but she has her eyes set on top of the podium.

Winter Olympics_Elana Meyers Taylor Helmet CU
Photo: Viesturs Lacis | IBSF

Most people who live in the South are not big fans of the cold. Believe it or not, this includes three-time Olympic bobsledder, Elana Meyers Taylor. "I never ever thought I'd be doing a winter Olympic sport, because I hate the cold – I hate it!" Meyers Taylor told Southern Living. "But it's one of those things that you tolerate to become an Olympian and live your dreams."

Meyers Taylor grew up in the warm temperatures of Metro Atlanta but now travels the world, racing down massive slopes of ice in a bobsled at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour. "Part of it is putting together the puzzle of trying to figure out what's the best line through every curve," the world champion explained. "But when you hit the curves right and you are really driving well, I can tell you it just feels like you're flying. Which is the coolest feeling in the world to me!"

With one bronze and two silver Olympic medals already under her belt, Meyers Taylor's dream of going for gold at this year's Winter Olympics almost got derailed when she tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after arriving in Beijing. After a week of isolation, she was cleared to compete and will now tackle what she said is very challenging track. "The curves are unlike any other curves we've seen before. I think the first two curves are probably at least two to three stories high!" said Meyers Taylor. "Usually, curves start off smaller and they get bigger as you go down the track and gain speed, but these curves are just massive from the jump, so there's a lot of tricky things in there."

Meyers Taylor has never been afraid facing challenges, on the track and in life. She said her unwavering determination was further reinforced after the birth of her son, Nico, who has Down's syndrome. Juggling surgeries, therapies and Olympic training has been no easy feat for the new mom and her husband, fellow bobsled Olympian, Nicholas Taylor. But Meyers Taylor said the experience has given her whole new perspective. "When I got pregnant and had Nico and got to see all of the things he had to overcome, it reignited my passion to go after my dreams, to give it one more try, and to go after the gold medals," explained Meyers Taylor. "You know if I have a bad day on the track, he doesn't care, if I have a good day on the track, he doesn't care! So, to have that kind of love and support with you unconditionally and all of the time it's pretty awesome."

Winter Olympics Elana Meyers Taylor Nico Smile
Elana Meyers Taylor

That love and support also comes from Meyers Taylor's teammates. "One of my former teammates retired from bobsled just to help us and take care of my son," Meyers Taylor said. "Having my teammates being at the table with him, communicating with him, teaching him "Itsy Bitsy Spider", or how to clap, it's been amazing, because he's really blossomed."

The Georgia native is a medal favorite for both the women's two-man bobsled and the newly added women's monobob event. However, Meyers Taylor said she and her teammates were really hoping for a four-man option. "Four-man is a highlight of bobsled, everybody loves it. It's fast and furious and having an opportunity to race it, it's so cool," said Meyers Taylor. A four-man event would also give the women more opportunities to earn Olympic medals.

WinterOlympics Elana 2Man Bobsled
ViestursLacis | IBSF

"Four women is what I wanted, and the women of my generation wanted. But if the women now want monobob, then that's fine too. I think it's most important to me whenever you're fighting for gender and racial equality is that you're fighting for choices, you're fighting for options, you don't necessarily want everybody to want same opportunities, you just want them to have different opportunities and different ways of going after whatever they want."

Speaking of going after what you want, Meyers Taylor said one day she hopes to become CEO of the Olympic Committee. "I feel like I can really make some positive change especially now with my experience as a woman and a mother athlete as well so that's definitely something I'm going to pursue."

The women's bobsled events start with the monobob's Olympic debut on February 13 followed by the two-woman bobsled competitions on February 18.

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