Womens History Moment: Elana Meyers Taylor wins medals in third consecutive Olympics

Elana Meyers Taylor

Elana Meyers Taylor, born Elana Alessandra Meyers on October 10, 1984 has now won medals in three consecutive Winter Olympics. These are the Olympic Games, and the medals she has now won: Silver medal – second place, 2018 Pyeongchang; Silver medal – second place, 2014 Sochi; and Bronze medal – third place, 2010 Vancouver.

She has also won medals in many World Championships: Gold medal – first place, 2012 Lake Placid; Gold medal – first place, 2013 St. Moritz; Gold medal – first place, 2015 Winterberg; Gold medal – first place , 2017 Königssee; Silver medal – second place, 2009 Lake Placid; Silver medal – second place, 2013 St. Moritz; Bronze medal – third place, 2012 Lake Placid; and Bronze medal – third place, 2016 Igls.

Elana Meyers Taylor is an American bobsledder who has competed since 2007. Born in Oceanside, California, Meyers was raised in Douglasville, Georgia and is a graduate of The George Washington University, where she was a member of the softball team. Meyers married coach and fellow bobsledder Nic Taylor in April 2014. Meyers won the silver in the bobsled two-woman event with Shauna Rohbock at the 2009 FIBT World Championships in Lake Placid, New York. She was named to the US team for the 2010 Winter Olympics on January 16, 2010.

On February 24, 2010 Meyers along with Erin Pac won the bronze medal at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Their first run has a time of 53.28. Their second run has a time of 53.05. Their third run has a time of 53.29. Their fourth run has a time of 53.78 for a total of 3:33.40 a difference of +1.12 from first place. Meyers and brake-woman Katie Eberling placed second at the 2013 FIBT World Championships in St. Moritz .

On February 19, 2014 Meyers along with Lauryn Williams won the silver medal at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Their first run has a time of 57.26, a track record. Their second run has a time of 57.63. Their third run has a time of 57.69. Their fourth run has a time of 58.13 for a total of 3:50.71 a difference of +0.10 from first place, just edged out by rival Canada 1, piloted by Kaillie Humphries and braked by Heather Moyse. In April 2014 she took part in 2014 China Women’s Sevens with United States women’s national rugby union team (sevens)[4]

In September 2014, the Fédération Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing announced it would allow mixed-gender crews to compete in four-man bobsleigh. On 8 November Meyers Taylor led a four-man crew to third place in the US trials, securing a place to compete for the US national team, despite only having four days training in a four-man sled. On November 15, 2014, Meyers and Kaillie Humphries of Canada became the first women to compete with/against men in an international four-man bobsleigh competition, in the season-opening North American Cup race in Park City, Utah. Meyers piloted her mixed-team’s sled to a seventh-place finish, Humphries piloted hers to sixth.

In February 2015, Meyers and pusher Cherrelle Garrett beat three German crews to win the first world championship title in women’s bobsled for the United States. This also made Meyers the first U.S. bobsled driver, either male or female, in 56 years to win a worlds title on a non-North American track.

In February 2018, Meyers and pusher Lauren Gibbs won a silver medal in the two-woman bobsleigh event at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Lauren Gibbs

Lauren Gibbs was born March 2, 1984, and she is an American bobsledder who competes as a brakeman. She was named to the U.S. Olympic team for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Gibbs played volleyball while she was a student at Brown University. She left a job as a sales manager in 2013 to try out for the U.S. bobsled team. Gibbs won a bronze medal at the 2016 bobsled world championships, and with Elana Meyers Taylor won a silver medal in the two-woman event at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Meyers Taylor and brakeman Lauren Gibbs won silver in PyeongChang. They finished the four-run race just 0.07 seconds behind gold medalists Mariana Jamanka and Lisa Buckwitz of Germany – who had never won an international bobsled event before. Finishing 0.38 seconds behind Meyers Taylor and Gibbs for bronze were Canadians Humphries and Phylicia George, a two-time Olympic hurdler.

The silver medal marked a few pieces of history for Meyers Taylor. She is now tied with Steven Holcomb and Patrick Martin for the most decorated U.S. Olympic bobsledders (three medals each). She and Humphries are now the only women in the world to have won three Olympic bobsled medals. And the medal continued a long streak of success for the U.S. women’s bobsled program. Team USA is the only nation to medal at every Games since women’s bobsled made its Olympic debut in 2002.

In 2014, Gibbs was earning a six-figure salary as a sales manager in Denver. She had earned degrees from both Brown University and Pepperdine. She knew nothing about bobsled before July 2014 when Meyers Taylor – known for recruiting some of the team’s most talented brakemen to the sport – texted her and encouraged her to give the sport a try.

Gibbs, now 33 (as is Meyers Taylor), had competed in volleyball while at Brown. Meyers Taylor was a softball player at George Washington University herself, and the U.S. bobsled team has long been made up of primarily collegiate athletes, including a few former volleyball players who have gone on to succeed in bobsled. She made the national team her first season and has since earned 12 world cup medals, world championship bronze and, now, Olympic silver. It was a bold move she has never regretted.

Gibbs and Meyers Taylor both already have their sights set on the future. Both confirmed after that they intend to compete for (at least) four more years and aim for gold at the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.

How other black American athletes fared at Winter Olympics. Only two black American athletes (bobsledders Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs) contributed to the United State’s 23 total medals (fourth among all 92 nations), but the future looks bright for young first-time participants Jordan Greenway, Erin Jackson and Maame Biney.

Aja Evans: while braking for pilot Jamie Greubel Poser, who she won bronze with in the same event at the 2014 Winter Olympics, the pair placed fifth in the two-woman sled.

Chris Kinney: Kinney, with crewmates Abdul-Saboor, Nick Cunningham and Samuel Michener, placed 19th in the four-man sled.

Briauna Jones (alternate): Jones did not compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Jordan Greenway: through five tournament games, Greenway scored one goal on 13 shots, including the second score of the opening preliminary game against Slovenia. Team USA was eliminated in the quarterfinals after a 3-2 shootout loss to the Czech Republic.

Shani Davis: Davis, who in 2006 became the first black athlete to win an individual gold medal at the Winter Olympics, failed to medal in what was likely his final Games, taking seventh place in the men’s 1,000 meters and 19th in the 1,500 meters.

Erin Jackson: Jackson, who transitioned from inline skating to speedskating in September, placed 24th in the women’s 500 meters.

Maame Biney: the 18-year-old Ghanaian placed 14th in the women’s 500 meters and 31st in the women’s 1,500 meters.

Kimani Griffin: Griffin, a first-time Winter Olympian, placed 26th in the men’s 500 meters.