Summer 2022

U.S. bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor wins 4th Olympic medal, is 'in this sport to glorify God'

In the first monobob (single-person bobsled) competition in Olympic history Monday in Beijing, the top two medals went to the United States.

>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<

Kaillie Humphries, now with the United States after previously being a bobsledder for Canada, took gold, while Elana Meyers Taylor captured the silver. An incredible final run vaulted Meyers Taylor into second place.

“It really took the entire team,” Meyers Taylor told NBC afterward. “… It’s really about Team USA and it took every single one of them to get me here.”

Meyers Taylor’s ability to race was briefly in doubt, as she had to spend a week in isolation after testing positive for COVID on Jan. 29. In addition to dealing with lingering symptoms, she also missed valuable practice time.

“This is better than gold,” Meyers Taylor said, according to USA Today. “This is definitely the most difficult medal I’ve ever earned. It’s definitely been the hardest journey to get here. So this is the most special, by far, and I am so excited to take it back to my son.”

When Meyers Taylor’s now nearly 2-year-old son, Nico, was born in February 2020, doctors suspected he had Down syndrome. Nico spent his first eight days in the NICU, where the suspicion was confirmed. Nico also wears hearing aids due to his profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss.

With the challenges of a new baby with Down syndrome, and those challenges heightened by the COVID-19 isolation, Meyers Taylor and her husband, Nic (a former U.S. bobsledder himself and now his wife’s trainer), wondered if she would ever compete in international bobsled competition again. She set her mind to it and slowly clawed her way back, all with little Nico in tow.

“I realized she’s different. And she’s special,” Nic told NBC Sports last year. “And whatever that is, I don’t have it.”

Now at 37, Meyers Taylor is ranked No. 1 in the world in the women’s monobob and the two-woman bobsled and she’s back at the top of her sport not that that’s anything new to her. Monday’s silver medal, combined with a bronze in the two-woman bobsled in 2010 and silvers in 2014 and 2018, made her the only woman to win four Olympic bobsled medals for the United States. She’s also earned eight world championship medals (four golds).

Her previous accomplishments actually led to her being selected as a U.S. flag bearer for this year’s Beijing Olympics, although she was unable to attend because of her positive COVID test.

So why did Meyers Taylor continue her rigorous training to get back to the Olympics in spite of all her obstacles?

“God put me here for a specific reason and I don’t think it’s just to win medals,” she told Athletes in Action in 2014. “At the end of the day, I’m in this sport to glorify God, so if that means I come in last place or I win the gold medal, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Meyers Taylor, who came to faith in Christ during her time as a softball player at George Washington University, was baptized in 2013 along with Nic while the two were still dating.

“We know God is using our time here for a purpose,” Meyers Taylor told the Fellowship of Christian Athletes prior to the PyeongChang Olympics in 2018. “It’s exciting to be able to go through this and think about what stories we’ll share with our (future) kids later, and what will come of all of this.”

Now, with husband Nic and son Nico with her at every step, she’s enjoying every moment.

Meyers Taylor hopes to earn another Olympic medal later in the week, as she competes in the two-woman bobsled event. Humphries will drive another sled for the U.S. in the event.  The four heats will take place on Friday and Saturday.

RELATED STORIES:
Elana Meyers Taylor wins another Olympic silver medal, continues to glorify God
Olympic bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor looks to gain gold medal in PyeongChang
Winter Olympic Closeup: Elana Meyers
INSIDE THE CHAPEL: Team USA chaplain Asif Shaikh on ‘Chasing the Lion’
Eric Staal headlines Canadian Olympic hockey team as he seeks to live for God