After wrapping up a season that included six world cup victories, an overall world cup title and a historic world championship gold medal, you’d think Elana Meyers Taylor might need a break.
Yet the bobsledder has continued her million-mile-an-hour pace without missing a beat, recently flying to Colorado Springs, Colorado, in the midst of her summer internship with the International Olympic Committee in Switzerland. Meyers Taylor was in Colorado Springs to speak to minority student leaders at the United States Olympic Committee’s annual FLAME program (Finding Leaders Among Minorities Everywhere).
Meyers Taylor and her husband, former bobsledder Nic Taylor, touched on topics that filtered their athletic pedigree into applicable lessons for the young professionals pursuing a career in sports.
“Being a large audience of women and minorities, they’re really eager to get their foot in the door and reach the higher levels within sport,” Meyers Taylor said of the 29 undergraduate and graduate students participating in the eight-day program. “It’s really inspiring to see.”
Her relatable demeanor is rooted in her own aspirations. Meyers Taylor said she plans to lead the USOC one day as CEO, but has maintained a grounded approach in doing so.
“In order to be CEO, I have to understand sport in all aspects,” she said. “There are 28 summer and seven winter Olympic sports – I have no clue about many of these sports. In order to understand, I have to understand the business as much as possible.”
The two-time Olympic medalist voiced these goals at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games to IOC President Thomas Bach, who encouraged her and fellow bobsledder Jazmine Fenlator to apply for an IOC internship.
Just under a year later, she is nearly complete with the two-month program at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, where she is immersed in international finance law.
“The cool thing about it is, it’s a company that largely works with the U.S. dollar because of their connection with NBC and the USOC,” Meyers Taylor said. “But I do rely a lot on Google Translate.”
The IOC has been accommodating to her training regimen. She said that one of the most beneficial aspects has been the IOC’s initiative in providing opportunities for athletes post-sport.
Initially, however, Meyers Taylor wasn’t too keen on spending her offseason thousands of miles away from home.
After the 2014-2015 season – which she called the most rigorous of her career – Meyers Taylor returned to the U.S. to recuperate. She wasn’t mentally prepared to leave right away.
“I really didn’t want to go do this,” she said. “Things were really good in Phoenix; I just got married (in April 2014). I just wanted to stay home, train and recover from injuries.”
So where did she find the resolve to head to Switzerland?
“Nic pushed me,” Meyers Taylor said. “He has been so helpful to me psychologically. Nic is able to understand everything from a whole picture aspect. … He told me: ‘You have to go do this.’ It really forced me out of my comfort zone, and I don’t think I would’ve gone if it weren’t for his support.”
Meyers Taylor is frank about her future. When asked about life after sport, she says, “the horizon is coming.” But her competitive drive will remain long after she walks away. The page might turn to a new career, but the work ethic endures.
And that’s the message she hopes resonated with the FLAME participants.
“Hopefully it inspires them in whatever path they choose to do even more and do even better, and to know that we’re serving our countries, hopefully it inspires them to go and serve better wherever they’re at.”