(L-R) Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs celebrating during the medal ceremony for women's bobsled at the Olympic Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.
Even pushing for two, Elana Meyers Taylor can’t be beat.
The three-time Olympic medalist announced Wednesday that she is taking the 2019-20 bobsled season off as she prepares to give birth to her first child in March. But on Thursday, she delayed her hiatus just long enough to compete in and win the women’s drivers division at the USA Bobsled Push Championships in Lake Placid, New York.
The push championships, in which bobsled athletes are timed over two or three starts on dry land, determine spots on the upcoming bobsled national team for returning athletes.
Meyers Taylor bid adieu to the sport for this season by posting a combined time of 9.45 seconds, topping Brittany Reinbolt (9.55), Kristi Koplin (9.68) and Shelby Williamson (9.80). Meyers Taylor said she plans to return to the sport next season and compete in the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
Competition in Lake Placid included separate races for drivers and push athletes. Sylvia Hoffman won the women’s push competition, while Kyle Wilcox took first in men’s push and Codie Bascue led in men’s drivers.
Hoffman, a former basketball player at LSU, debuted as a bobsledder last year after taking part in Season 2 of “Milk Life presents, Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful.” She made the national team and pushed Meyers Taylor to a world cup bronze medal in Innsbruck, Austria.
The success continued as her combined time of 9.50 seconds bettered that of second-place Ebony McClendon (9.69) and five other women.
In the men’s push competition, which featured 18 athletes, Wilcox topped the list at 13.25 seconds. Kris Horn was second in 13.28 seconds. “Next Olympic Hopeful” Season 1 winner Josh Williamson, who like Hoffman was on the national team last year, was fourth. Three Season 3 “Next Olympic Hopeful” contestants were also among the top 10: Re’Quan Harley (fifth), and Alex Mustard and Boone Niederhofer (tied for ninth).
Bascue, a 2018 Olympian, clocked in at 8.40 seconds to win the men’s push contest, beating Geoff Gadbois (8.50) and Hunter Church (8.69).
A handful of notable U.S. athletes did not compete Thursday, including Olympic silver medalist Lauren Gibbs and gold medalist Justin Olsen, both of whom had medical waivers.
Other “Next Olympic Hopeful” contestants to compete included Tiffeny Parker and Leah Fair in the women’s push competition, and Jamil Muhammad-Ray and Philip Redrick in the men’s push contest.
Kaillie Humphries, a two-time Olympic champion from Canada who is seeking a release from the Canadian federation in order to compete for Team USA this season, did not compete but served as the guest forerunner for the women’s push competition.
The push championships wrap up Friday morning with the women’s and men’s combo push competitions.
Following the push championships, the U.S. athletes are slated to begin on-ice training on Oct. 28 in Park City, Utah, with team selection races on Nov. 2 and 8.