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Meyers Taylor and Kwaza celebrate New Year with gold
Elana Meyers Taylor and Lake Kwaza on their gold medal winning run.
SIGULDA, Latvia (January 2, 2022) – Elana Meyers Taylor (Douglasville, Ga.) and Lake Kwaza (Sycamore, Ill.) teamed together for the first time in a year, and the duo celebrated the New Year with gold in this morning’s two-woman bobsled World Cup in Sigulda.
“It was a close competition,” Meyers Taylor said. “This track is really tricky, and walking away with a win feels great.”
Today’s victory was Meyers Taylor’s first two-woman bobsled World Cup medal this season, and her first two-woman bobsled World Cup win in three years. Her last gold medal performance was in February 2019 with Kwaza in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Meyers Taylor and Kwaza tied Russia's Nadezhada Sergeeva and Yulia Belomestnykh for the fastest start time of 5.35 seconds in the first heat, and the teams matched at the finish as well with a track record time of 50.72 seconds to tie for first place. The former record of 50.96 seconds was set in February 2020 by Romanians Andreea Grecu and Iona Gheorghe. The Americans and Russians led by 0.14 seconds over Mica McNeill and Adele Nicoll from Britain.
Meyers Taylor and Kwaza had only the third best start time of 5.36 seconds and the second fastest finish time of 51.16 seconds in the final heat, but it was enough to maintain the lead. The Americans were victorious by 0.22 seconds with a combined time of 1:41.88.
“It was only me, Lake and Lolo (Jones) this week, and Lolo did a great job helping us prepare to race,” Meyers Taylor said. “Start coach Garrett Jones drove with our sled for 20 hours to get it here, and he’ll drive it to Germany with coach Shauna Rohbock. It’s really a team effort; every person on this team helped us get this win today.”
Sergeeva and Belomestnykh crashed during the final run and fell back into 15th place.McNeill and Nicoll moved into silver medal position as a result with a two-run total of 1:42.10. Canadians Christine DeBruin and Kristen Bujnowski had the fastest run of the second heat to take bronze with a cumulative time of 1:42.12.
“I take each run as it comes,” Meyers Taylor said. “This is one of the home tracks for the Russians, and I knew that if I could hang with Nadezhada that I would have a shot. You never want to win a race that way, but the other women brought it and it was a really close competition.”
This was Kwaza’s first World Cup appearance this season. The last time she competed in a World Cup race she claimed silver with Meyers Taylor in January 2021 in Igls, Austria. Kwaza has medaled in all six of her World Cup career starts.
“It felt great to race with Lake again,” Meyers Taylor said. “She did a great job today.”
American Kaillie Humphries (Carlsbad, Calif.) took an extended break and will return to the World Cup next week in Winterberg, Germany. Meyers Taylor also took a break this week by opting not to race in the women’s monobob competition.
“I really need to preserve my body, and I know I have to take it easy sometimes,” Meyers Taylor said. “It’s been a battle all season long with injuries, and all of our brakemen have really stuck in there. I’ve had five different push athletes now for different races, and they’ve all pushed me the best they can regardless of where I am physically.”
The final race of the Sigulda event will be the second two-man bobsled race at 1:30 p.m. local time today. Streaming will be available via desktop at olympics.com/en/live/, and via mobile, tablet and connected television platforms on the Olympic Channel app. Check local listings for broadcast times on the Olympic Channel and OlympicChannel.com.
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1. Elana Meyers Taylor and Lake Kwaza (USA) 1:41.88 (50.72, 51.16);
2. Mica McNeill and Adele Nicoll (GBR) 1:42.10 (50.86, 51.24);
3. Christine DeBruin and Kristen Bujnowski (CAN) 1:42.12 (51.01, 51.11);
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.