Women’s bobsled in the U.S. has always been good.
Since the sport debuted at the FIBT World Championships in 2000, an American team has finished in the medals every year but two. And American women have won medals at every Olympic Winter Games since the event’s debut in 2002.
But it’s never been quite this good.
USA Bobsled has begun the 2018 Olympic season with two of the top female pilots in the world. Jamie Greubel Poser was ranked No. 1 in world cup standings last season, with Elana Meyers Taylor at the top of the IBSF overall ranking.
Combined, Greubel Poser and Meyers Taylor won six of the eight world cups last season, with at least one of them finishing on the podium in all eight races. And seven times, they finished in the top three together, including at the world championships, where Meyers Taylor won her second world title and Greubel Poser won her first world championship medal (bronze). It marked the first double podium for the U.S. women at worlds.
The two bobsled drivers also finished on the podium together at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, with Meyers Taylor sliding to silver and Greubel Poser taking bronze.
They started the 2018 Olympic season on Nov. 9 — Greubel Poser’s 34th birthday — at the Lake Placid World Cup, where Meyers Taylor, 33, finished second (with brakewoman Lauren Gibbs) and Greubel Poser (with Aja Evans) was 0.01 seconds off the podium in fourth.
In the second world cup in Park City, Utah, last Friday, it was Greubel Poser on top with Gibbs for the win. Meyers Taylor, paired with three-time Olympian and track star Lolo Jones, took third. In IBSF rankings, Greubel Poser is currently second and Meyers Taylor third (behind two-time defending Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries of Canada).
So how does it work having two of the top pilots in the world on the same team?
“It’s been a very unique but amazing dynamic to have on our team because we really push each other to be the absolute best,” said Greubel Poser.
The two work together in training, talking about equipment and lines down the track.
“A lot of other teams, it’s not always that way,” explained Greubel Poser.
Meyers Taylor acknowledges that the hardest part of their relationship is that they compete for everything, including the best equipment and the fastest brakewomen.
“We both want it so bad,” Meyers Taylor said. “But at the same time, it pushes you to be better. I know that if I’m not on my A game that she’s going to beat me, and she knows that if she’s not on her A game, then I’m going to beat her.”
“I don’t believe without that competition that we would be where we are,” she added.
They are also great friends, noted bobsled coach Brian Shimer. They have known each other for a decade, starting as brakemen together in 2007. Meyers Taylor switched to the driver’s seat after she won an Olympic bronze medal as Erin Pac’s brakewoman at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Greubel Poser became a driver that same year.
Although Meyers Taylor found the podium more quickly, Greubel Poser caught up quickly, with both winning medals in Sochi.
Since then, they have followed similar trajectories. Both were married in 2014 after the Games — Meyers Taylor to American bobsledder Nic Taylor and Greubel Poser to German bobsledder Christian Poser. And both continued to climb up the bobsled ladder. In 2015, Meyers Taylor became the first American woman to win a bobsled world championship. And last season, Greubel Poser finally surpassed her teammate in the world cup rankings.
Meyers Taylor is aiming for her third Olympic team, Greubel Poser for her second. Both are strong contenders for gold in PyeongChang.
“They know how to push each other to be the best that they can be so that USA is always at the top at the end of the day,” said Kehri Jones, who pushed Meyers Taylor to the world title last winter, as well as two world cup wins. “It’s never ‘I’m Jamie, so I need to focus on Jamie being number one, or I’m Elana, and I need to focus on Elana being number one.’ The focus is always on USA being number one, no matter if it’s Elana or if it’s Jamie.”
A freelance writer based in Vermont, Peggy Shinn has covered four Olympic Games. She has contributed to TeamUSA.org since its inception in 2008.