|Elana Meyers greets then-fiance Nic Taylor with a kiss during their visit to the USA House in the Olympic Village on Feb. 20, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
When Elana Meyers married Nic Taylor on April 24, she joked that she added some fine print to their marriage contract: She was going to drive a four-man bobsled and he would be one of her push athletes.
“I think I snuck it in there,” said Meyers, now Meyers Taylor, with a laugh. “I think he kind of missed it.”
Truth be told, Nic Taylor knew exactly what he was getting into from the moment he met his wife, who is a two-time Olympic medalist bobsledder. A former track and field standout at Boise State, Taylor is now in his fourth year in bobsled and was a push athlete at the 2013 World Championships.
But they never really expected to be racing together until now. This year marks the first time women are allowed to compete in the four-man event, and Meyers Taylor hopes to be driving the sled with her husband as part of her crew.
Meyers Taylor will blog about her experiences this season at TeamUSA.org.
She is in Park City, Utah, for national team trials this week and hopes to make the world cup team. The team is expected to be named this week.
She took her first four-man runs Saturday.
“It was so much fun,” Meyers Taylor said. “I was wide awake at 5 a.m. and then rolled over until about 6. I couldn’t wait. We got in our first run at 9 a.m. and got three runs all together.”
Taylor said the first runs were a success.
“It went so well,” said Taylor, who coaches track athletes at the World Athletics Center in Phoenix. “I have been a bobsledder for a number of years and have ridden with some of the best drivers in the world and today was great. I was so happy.”
The couple met about three and a half years ago, appropriately at a bobsled event.
“It was so crazy,” Taylor said. “I tried out for the team on a Monday. On Tuesday evening, we were dating.”
Their commitment to each other remains strong. Clearly, Taylor wants to support his wife’s athletic career, but he said he is helping her as part of a larger cause. Having women enter the world of the four-man is important for future generations of women.
“For me, it’s really important because I love women competing in sports,” Taylor said. “And if Elana and I are blessed and lucky enough to become parents some day and have a girl, I would want her to be able to experience competition in sports.”
Meyers Taylor credited U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation CEO Darrin Steele for helping her get the opportunity to compete in the four-man event. Steele doubles as the vice president of sport for the FIBT, the international bobsled and skeleton federation, and helped push the cause of having women in the four-man event.
“Darrin’s really championed this cause,” Meyers Taylor said. “Without him creating this atmosphere, I do not think this would have happened. I can’t say enough for what he has done.”
Meyers Taylor, who earned a silver medal with Lauryn Williams at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, said the biggest difference between the four-man and two-man sleds is the weight.
“And probably with the four-man sled if you get in trouble, it is so much harder to save,” she explained. “There’s not much margin of error.”
While in Lake Placid, New York, last week, Meyers Taylor got some advice from a quality resource in John Napier, who competed in the two-man and four-man events at the 2010 Winter Games. Napier, who served in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army after his Olympic experience, was in Lake Placid taking runs last week for a possible return to the sport.
Meyers Taylor is excited for the opportunity to compete with and against the men. When she was in high school, she wanted to play baseball against the boys. She ended up pursuing a career in softball and later made the jump to bobsled. Shortly after competing in Sochi, she was training with the U.S. women’s rugby team. Although rugby is on the back burner right now, she said the sport “is still in the picture.” Unfortunately, a nagging Achilles injury prevented her from doing as much with the women’s rugby team as she had hoped but still foresees giving the sport another shot.
She is also a very active member of the Women’s Sports Foundation and hopes to help women achieve equality in sports.
Breaking into the four-man event is just another opportunity for women.
“We go to the Olympics every four years and have one opportunity to win a medal for Team USA,” she said. “We would love to be able to go to the Games with two medal opportunities. I would even like to see a four-woman discipline.”
And to be able to pursue her dreams with her husband literally on her team makes her journey that much better.
“I love it,” Meyers Taylor said. “My husband is 100 percent behind me.”
Amy Rosewater is a freelance writer and editor for TeamUSA.org. She has covered five Olympic Games and her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today.