Meyers Taylor and Kwaza display resiliency with bronze medal finish in Altenberg

Jan. 05, 2019, 9:57 a.m. (ET)

 

Contact: Amanda Bird, USABS Marketing & Communications Director
(518) 354-2250, amanda.bird@usabs.com

 

Meyers Taylor and Kwaza display resiliency with bronze medal finish in Altenberg

 

 

ALTENBERG, Germany (Jan. 5, 2019)–Elana Meyers Taylor(Douglasville, Ga.) and Lake Kwaza(Sycamore, Ill.) teamed together in the BMW sled to lead USA Women’s Bobsled this weekend with a bronze medal finish in Altenberg’s World Cup. 

Altenberg is one of the most challenging tracks in the world, tripping up even the most experienced drivers.Today was only Meyers Taylor’s fifth race in Altenberg as a pilot. She’s medaled in three of those races; a silver medal in the January 2017 World Cup, a victory in January 2015, and her bronze medal finish today. Meyers Taylor was still learning the track this week and crashed with Kwaza on the last day of training. They entered today feeling sore, but still hungry for the medals.

“Elana exemplifies resiliency,” said USA Bobsled Head Coach Mike Kohn. “She was in pain, but she didn’t make excuses, she didn’t whine; she put in the work and came home with a medal today. Lake is like a rubber ball, she’s just as resilient. After a crash, she gets right back into a sled. It would have been easy for the two of them to cash out and not want to race today, but they didn’t. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Meyers Taylor and Kwaza powered the BMW sled off the start line in 5.68 seconds for the second fastest push time of the field. Meyers Taylor threaded together a smooth drive to the finish, but the track had slowed down by the time she went off as the 11th of 13 sleds. After the first heat, British driver Mica McNeill held a slim lead of 0.04 seconds. Reigning Olympic champion Mariama Jamanka from Germany and Canadian Alysia Rissling were tied for second, while Germany’s Anna Koehler and American Meyers Taylor slid matching times of 59.13 seconds to tie for fourth. With the top five sleds a mere 0.10 seconds from one another, the race for the medals would come down to the final heat. 

Despite feeling sore, Meyers Taylor and Kwaza put together another strong start time of 5.70 seconds, and Meyers Taylor navigated the team to the finish in 58.51 seconds. Their combined time of 1:57.64 surpassed Koehler and Rissling to secure the bronze medal.

Jamanka and Annika Drazek were victorious in 1:57.25, followed by Canadians Christine de Bruin and Kristen Bujnowski, who leapt up from sixth place to claim the silver medal in 1:57.56. McNeill dropped to fourth, Koehler finished fifth and Rissling fell into 10th.

“It was a team effort,” Kohn said. “Richard (Laubenstein) stayed up working on the sled and getting it ready for the race. Everyone had to do their part, and it’s nice to see it pay off.”

Brittany Reinbolt(Searcy, Ark.) raced to 11th place with Jessica Davis(Gardena, Calif.) in the KOA-branded BMW-made sled. Reinbolt looked elated at the finish after piecing together the ever-notorious Altenberg track today. This is the first time the still-developing pilot has trained or competed on the German course. 

“We made it,” Reinbolt said from the leader’s box after their final run.

Reinbolt and Davis, who made her women’s bobsled World Cup debut today, posted start times of 5.84 and 5.86 seconds for runs of 59.61 and 59.04 seconds, respectively. The pair clocked a total time of 1:58.65 to finish just outside the top-10.

The Altenberg World Cup continues today with the men’s two-man bobsled competition at 4:30 p.m. local time/10:30 a.m. EST. NBCSports.com and OlympicChannel.com will stream the event live, while NBCSN will broadcast the event tonight.

For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USABS Marketing & Communications Director, at amanda.bird@usabs.com, or at (518) 354-2250. 

Results

1. Mariama Jamanka and Annika Drazek (GER) 1:57.25 (59.07, 58.18);
2. Christine de Bruin and Kristen Bujnowski (CAN) 1:57.56 (59.18, 58.38);
3. Elana Meyers Taylor and Lake Kwaza (USA) 1:57.64 (59.13, 58.51);
11. Brittany Reinbolt and Jessica Davis (USA) 1:58.65 (59.61, 59.04);

About USA Bobsled & Skeleton
USA Bobsled & Skeleton (USABS), based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. USABS would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: BMW of North America, Under Armour, Kampgrounds of America, Thorne Research, Boomerang Carnets, Hudl, Tesa Tape, PVS International, Ferris Mfg. Corp, Machintek, deBotech and Carpenter. For more information, please visit the USABS website atwww.usabs.com.

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