Elana Meyers Taylor’s bobsled career didn’t start on an ice-covered track. It didn’t start pushing a sled, and it certainly didn’t start in the chill of winter. For the Georgia native, it started on a softball diamond, lining up at short stop.
As a softball student-athlete at George Washington University, Meyers Taylor always dreamed of becoming an Olympian. But after softball was dropped from the Olympic program, she made the decision to trade her bat for a bobsled in 2007, setting her sights on making the national team.
“Playing at George Washington, starting that program and being the first athlete signed to GW really helped enhance my career,” Meyers Taylor said. “I don’t think I’d be the athlete I am now without that [experience]. It was a transformative time in my life and a transformative time for me as an athlete.”
Her explosive speed and strength, previously built up from her years as a student-athlete, helped Meyers Taylor land a spot on the world cup team her rookie season and as she enters her 11th season on the national team, her passion and power behind the sled have continued to pave a path to success.
Meyers Taylor won her first world cup medal in just her second season in the sport and continued her upward trajectory at the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games, were she earned bronze and silver medals, respectively – first as a brakeman for Erin Pac and then as a driver herself.
In her years since Sochi, Meyers Taylor has topped the podium twice at the world championships (2015 and 2017), becoming the first U.S. pilot ever to win a world title in 2015 and leading the U.S. to its first double podium in 2017. With the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 just over 100 days away, Meyers Taylor and her teammates are determined to bring home another medal.
“We’re all so competitive. We compete for everything,” Meyers Taylor said of the team’s competitive spirit. “We all want it so bad. It pushes us to be better athletes.”
While Meyers Taylor’s path to becoming a bobsled athlete was nothing short of unique, she credits the collegiate system for Team USA’s success on the international stage. The current national bobsled team is comprised of former student-athletes who competed in seven different NCAA sports.
“We would not have a competitive bobsled team without the NCAA, without athletes coming from those sports and going into our sport, transitioning over,” Meyers Taylor said. “We continuously have the best starts in the world and the only reason we’re able to do that is because athletes develop in the NCAA."