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Violent Crash Takes Elana Meyers Taylor Out Of Bobsled World Championships, Ends Podium Streak

By Paul D. Bowker | March 03, 2019, 5:49 p.m. (ET)

(L-R) Elana Meyers Taylor and Lake Kwaza push the bobsled at bobsled world championships on March 3, 2019 in Whistler, British Columbia.


Elana Meyers Taylor was on track to contend for her third bobsled world title Sunday.

A crash in the third run on Whistler, British Columbia’s fast track ended those hopes.

Meyers Taylor, a three-time Olympian and six-time individual world medalist, and teammate Lake Kwaza violently crashed toward the end of their third run in the four-run world championship format. After being tended to for several minutes by medical officials, Meyers Taylor and Kwaza walked away from their sled.

Meyers Taylor and Kwaza pushed from the start in 5.15 seconds but crashed in Corner 13, a treacherous area called the 50/50 curve. The turn was named by the late Steven Holcomb, a three-time U.S. Olympian.

After the sled tipped, it did not go back upright as they slid down the course at a high speed. They did not compete in the final run. Four other teams failed also crashed out of the competition.

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The crash ruined a great start for Meyers Taylor and Kwaza, who had combined for four medals on the world cup tour this season. Meyers Taylor had won medals at seven consecutive world cup stops, and she had medaled at every Olympics or world championships since 2012.

They emerged from the first two runs on Saturday in second place, trailing eventual winners Marianna Jamanka and Annika Drazek of Germany by just 0.13 seconds. Meyers Taylor and Kwaza set a track record with a time of 52.48 seconds in their first run, but lost time in the second run.

“Traditionally, me as a driver and this track haven’t gotten along, but I was excited to come here and race,” Meyers Taylor said on Saturday.

It was at Whistler that Meyers Taylor won her first Olympic medal, capturing the bronze medal in 2010 as a push athlete for Erin Pac. She later moved to the driver’s seat, where she has been among the best in the world for the past several years. Following an Olympic silver medal in 2014, Meyers Taylor teamed with Lauren Gibbs to win another silver medal at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. Meyers Taylor also won 2015 and 2017 world titles as a driver.

Brittany Reinbolt and Gibbs finished fifth Sunday. They had also combined to finish 12th in the 2017 world championships.

Their time of 52.61 seconds in their third run was the fourth quickest of that round. And when they finished their final run, they were in first place. However, the next four sleds topped their total time. Reinbolt and Gibbs finished 1.57 seconds behind Jamanka’s and Drazek’s winning time of 3:30.08.

Nicole Vogt and Nicole Brungardt finished ninth, 2.79 seconds back.

Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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Elana Meyers Taylor