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Meyers Taylor and Hoffman in third at halfway point of two-woman bobsled Olympic race, Humphries and Love in medal hunt in fifth
Elana Meyers Taylor and Sylvia Hoffman on track during the first heat of the two-woman bobsled Olympic competition.
Photo credit: Getty Images
YANQING, China (February 18, 2022) – Elana Meyers Taylor (Douglasville, Ga.) and Sylvia Hoffman (Arlington, Texas) are in third after the first two heats of the two-woman bobsled Olympic competition tonight at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre. Kaillie Humphries (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Kaysha Love (Herriman, Utah) are within striking distance of the medals in fifth.
“It’s been a long journey and I’m just going to enjoy the heck out of it,” Meyers Taylor said. “ I feel really good right now. I’m going to get some rest and get after it tomorrow.”
The Germans proved they wouldn’t go down without a fight by setting the pace in the first heat. Laura Nolte and Deborah Levi set a new track record time of 1:01.04 to lead by 0.06 seconds over their teammates, Miriama Jamanka and Alexandra Burghardt.
Meyers Taylor and Hoffman made a statement right off the block with a start time of 5.33 seconds. Meyers Taylor navigated the team to the finish in 1:01.26 seconds for third position.
“I’m able to slide with a veteran slider, she’s been doing this for several years and I trust her from the start to the finish,” said Hoffman, who made her Olympic debut today. “For me it’s also having fun, doing my best, giving it my all. I want to lay it all out there with no regrets.”
Humphries and Love posted a push time of 5.37 seconds for a first run downtime of 1:01.41. The pair was 0.15 seconds behind their teammates, and 0.37 seconds from the lead. Canadians Christine de Bruin and Kristen Bujnowski were 0.04 seconds from the Americans in fifth.
Today was Love’s Olympic debut. She said she’s trying to take it day by day, and “not let the moment become bigger than it is.”
“Being out there and seeing the rings and knowing that I’m pushing this incredible pilot is a very overwhelming and incredible feeling,” Love said. “I felt honored to be representing myself, my family, our country, and pushing Kaillie down there. It’s a dream come true to finally be an Olympian.”
Nolte and Levi maintained their position on top of the leaderboard with a second run of 1:01.01 to take the overnight lead with a combined total of 2:02.05. They extended their lead to 0.50 seconds over their teammates Jamanka and Burghardt, who are currently in second place with a two-run combined time of 2:02.55.
Meyers Taylor and Hoffman matched their record breaking start time of 5.33 seconds in the second heat, and again posted the third fastest downtime of 1:01.53. They are in bronze medal position with a cumulative time of 2:02.79.
“It’s a very tough field, a very competitive field,” Meyers Taylor said. “It’s going to be about staying consistent tomorrow in the final two heats.”
Bronze won’t come easy. De Bruin and Bujnowski are in fourth with a 2:03.21, and Humphries and Love are in fifth with a 2:03.38. The Americans had only the ninth best run of 1:01.97, but Humphries, a four-time Olympic medalist, isn’t one to back down.
“There’s definitely a lot more in the tank from the driving side,” Humphries said. “I’ve got to clean up corner four and corner six. The second run was probably my worst run out of all of the racing I’ve done so far, so there’s definitely room for improvement in the driving aspect. I’m really happy with how we started. Kaysha did an amazing job today. So we’ll look again at our equipment, look to clean up some drives, and see what happens.”
As soon as Humphries exited the sled, she started to visualize her run. She said she knows where her mistakes were made, and she wanted to correct them as soon as possible.
“I don’t need to see video to understand,” Humphries said. “I know what I did wrong and know what I need to do to fix, so I just wanted to in my head mentally go over the right thing and fix and change it so I don’t remember the wrong thing, and then hopefully we can do it on the track tomorrow.”
“I know it’s a whole new day tomorrow,” Meyers Taylor said. “I know Kaillie has come back from behind before to win a medal. Christine is a competitor, and I still need to go after the Germans. I’ve got to figure it out to try to take out Nolte.”
Meyers Taylor said she’s ready to attack tomorrow, and she will go “all out.”
“I never want to be in a position to bank on somebody else making a mistake,” Meyers Taylor said. “I’m going to go at it and see what happens, and if I go at it and it doesn’t work out, I can live with that. If I ease off the gas and just try to chill and maintain my position, I’d walk away a very unhappy person.”
While Meyers Taylor and Hoffman blasted off the block with the start record in the first heat, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee announced that Meyers Taylor has been elected by fellow members of Team USA to lead the 2022 U.S. Olympic Team as flag bearer into Sunday’s Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. Meyers Taylor was also elected as flag bearer for Opening Ceremony, but she was unable to walk while in quarantine for a positive COVID-19 test.
Brian Shimer was the last bobsled athlete to serve as Closing Ceremony flag bearer for Team USA in 2002. Shimer is a five-time Olympian and 2002 Olympic bronze medalist, and he has worked as a USA Bobsled coach for the last 20 years.
Meyers Taylor is the second U.S. athlete to have been elected as both the Opening Ceremony and Closing Ceremony flag bearer, joining bobsled and skeleton athlete Jack Heaton, who carried the flag in both ceremonies in St. Moritz in 1948.
Racing continues tomorrow with the first two heats of the four-man bobsled competition at 9:30 a.m. local time, followed by the two-woman bobsled finale at 8 p.m. The 2022 Winter Olympic Games can be viewed Live on NBC and streamed on Peacock Premium. The games can be viewed with a cable subscription on NBC, USA Network, and CNBC. NBCOlympics.com and NBC Sports app will live stream a Winter Olympics record 2,100+ hours of live event competition during the Beijing Olympics. For more information on how to view, please go to NBCOlympics.com.
For media inquiries, please contact USABS Marketing and Communications Director Amanda Bird at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Results (heats 1 & 2)
1. Laura Nolte and Deborah Levi (GER) 2:02.05 (1:01.04, 1:01.01);
2. Mariama Jamanka and Alexandra Burghardt (GER) 2:02.55 (1:01.10, 1:01.45);
3. Elana Meyers Taylor and Sylvia Hoffman (USA) 2:02.79 (1:01.26, 1:01.53);
5. Kaillie Humphries and Kaysha Love (USA) 2:03.38 (1:01.41, 1:01.97)
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. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com. Individuals interested in becoming a bobsled or skeleton athlete can visit www.usabobsledskeleton.com.