American Elana Meyers Taylor adds to medal haul, takes bronze in two-woman bobsled
After winning silver in the Olympic debut of women’s monobob, Elana Meyers Taylor gave her medal to her son, Nico. The 2-year-old wore the red lanyard around his neck and turned the silver medal over in his hands as he rolled onto his back in a heartwarming video Meyers Taylor shared on Twitter. With two Olympic medals in tow, Meyers Taylor will get a redo during Sunday’s closing ceremony. Her United States teammates again elected her as the flagbearer.
Nico now has another new toy.
Meyers Taylor added a bronze medal in the two-woman event to her record-setting Olympic haul Saturday, bringing her total medal count to five. The 37-year-old pilot who paired with brakewoman Sylvia Hoffman is the most decorated Black athlete in the Winter Olympics, passing speedskater Shani Davis, and has the most Olympic medals for any female bobsledder and U.S. bobsledder.
Sui Wenjing and Han Cong dominate in winning gold in pairs figure skating at the Beijing Olympics. American pairs finish sixth and eighth.
Previously, she won the two-woman silver in Pyeongchang and Sochi and bronze in Vancouver after switching to bobsled from softball when she saw bobsledder Vonetta Flowers become the first Black athlete to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics.
“There’s a lot of people that came before me,” Meyers Taylor told reporters. “Vonetta Flowers is the reason I’m here and Shani David and even Erin Jackson. It’s just been such a long legacy of Black athletes at the Winter Olympics and hopefully it just continues.”
Germany won gold and silver with 23-year-old Laura Nolte blowing the field away. Nolte, who won the women’s monobob in the 2016 Youth Olympic Games, recorded a four-heat time of 4:03.96 to unseat defending Olympic gold medalist Mariama Jamanka, who totaled a time of 4:04.73.
For the first time in her Olympic career, Kaillie Humphries finished a competition off the podium. The three-time Olympic gold medalist was battling a calf injury and finished seventh, dropping from the fifth-place position after Friday. The 36-year-old won gold in monobob on Monday.
Hoffman won her first Olympic medal in her debut after taking up bobsled as a result of the NBC reality show/training camp “Next Olympic Hopeful.” The former basketball player and Olympic weightlifter hugged Nolte after the German pilot’s final run, telling her, “Congratulations! You got gold! You did it!”
Meyers Taylor and Hoffman finished 1.52 seconds behind the gold medalists and 0.75 second out of silver. Typically paired with Humphries during the World Cup circuit, Hoffman worked with Meyers Taylor only sparingly leading up to the Games.
“We had to put in a lot of work just so we could get on the same page,” Hoffman told reporters. “We did it. We got bronze, which is awesome because it’s my first Olympic medal.”
Along with competing in two events for the first time in her Olympic career, Meyers Taylor returned to the Olympics for the first time as a mother. Nico was born in March 2020 and was diagnosed with Down syndrome and profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. She questioned if she could ever come back to bobsled.
She began training for her comeback in her home as the pandemic shut down gyms. Makeshift workouts made an unwelcome return in Beijing, where Meyers Taylor had to spend the first part of the Games in isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus.
While other pilots got to test the track during informal trainings for the monobob competition, Meyers Taylor was left lifting a barbell in her hotel. The isolation also cost Meyers Taylor an opportunity to carry the flag for the United States at the opening ceremony. She watched the event from an isolation hotel.
Elana Meyers Taylor missed out being the flag bearer after testing positive for the coronavirus. But, it doesn’t stop her from advocating for her sport.
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