COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Historic performances throughout December earned bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor (Douglasville, Georgia) and luger Tucker West (Ridgefield, Connecticut) Athlete of the Month recognition, while the U.S. Women’s Bobsled World Cup Team received Team of the Month honors, the United States Olympic Committee announced today.
Meyers Taylor made history by becoming one of the first women to race in a four-person bobsled world cup event since the circuit debuted in 1984, placing 16th at the FIBT World Cup on Dec. 20 in Calgary, Alberta. One hour before the historic race, she also captured the women’s gold medal with Cherrelle Garrett (Hayward, California) with a two-run time of 1:51.76. The win marked her first victory on a non-U.S. track and completed the sweep of the women’s North American world cup races after she also won gold at the world cup opener on Dec. 13 in Lake Placid, New York.
West opened the 2014-15 World Cup season by earning two podium finishes in December, highlighted by his first world cup victory on Dec. 5 in Lake Placid. With the win, he became the youngest American man – and the first in 17 years – to win a FIL World Cup singles race. The following weekend, he added a silver medal in the men’s sprint event at the FIBT World Cup in Calgary, Alberta.
Meanwhile, the U.S. women’s bobsled team swept the FIBT World Cup podium for only the third time in history at the season opener, held Dec. 13 in Lake Placid. Meyers Taylor and Garrett set start (5.42) and track records (56.28) en route to victory in the women’s bobsled, while Jazmine Fenlator (Wayne, New Jersey) and Natalie DeRatt (Asheville, North Carolina), and Jamie Greubel Poser (Newtown, Pennsylvania) and Lauren Gibbs (Denver, Colorado) completed the American sweep by taking second and third place.
Paralympic Nordic skier Oksana Masters (Louisville, Kentucky) finished runner-up, while luger Erin Hamlin (Remsen, New York) and swimmer Katie Ledecky (Bethesda, Maryland) tied for third place in the female vote. On the men’s side, table tennis player Jim Butler (Houston, Texas) and swimmer Connor Jaeger (Fair Haven, New Jersey) earned second and third place. The 200-meter mixed freestyle relay placed second in the team vote, while the U.S. Women’s Junior Table Tennis Team earned third.
Each National Governing Body may nominate one female, one male and one team per discipline. A voting panel selects the winners from the pool of nominees with online fan voting via Twitter accounting for 10 percent of the total vote.
1. Elana Meyers Taylor, Bobsled
2. Oksana Masters, Paralympic Nordic Skiing
3. Erin Hamlin, Luge; Katie Ledecky, Swimming
1. Tucker West, Luge
2. Jim Butler, Table Tennis
3. Connor Jaeger, Swimming
1. U.S. Women’s Bobsled World Cup Team, Bobsled
2. U.S. 200-meter mixed freestyle relay, Swimming
3. U.S. Women’s Junior Table Tennis Team, Table Tennis