BEIJING She has raced on at least 15 unique bobsled tracks in 11 countries. She’s had no less than 41 unique teammates in her sleds. She possesses a lot more Olympic medals than any bobsledder in U.S. record, with a probability at 1 additional this weekend. She has become an advocate, fighting for equality for women in sporting activities. And she turned a wife and mother together the way.
Immediately after 15 several years as a bobsledder, Elana Meyers Taylor has carried out just about every thing she preferred.
And now, the end line could possibly be in sight.
Without making any form of formal “this is it” declaration, Meyers Taylor is pondering about retirement and hinted that the women’s race at the Beijing Olympics — it commences Friday and ends Saturday — may depict her closing formal time in a sled.
“There’s a very good likelihood that it is my past a person,” Meyers Taylor explained.
On the surface area, that is not fully shocking. At 37, her silver medal in the inaugural women’s monobob function previously this 7 days made her the oldest lady to medal in any Olympic bobsled function she’s about three months more mature than Italy’s Gerda Weissensteiner was when she captured a bronze at the 2006 Turin Online games.
Possibly even much more impressively, Meyers Taylor also grew to become the oldest girl to medal for the U.S. at the Winter season Olympics in any sport. She became the oldest American of both gender to medal in bobsled at the Olympics considering the fact that Brian Shimer, then 39, won bronze in four-male at the 2002 Salt Lake Metropolis Games.
“All season, Elana has been on a mission,” U.S. men’s press athlete Carlo Valdes said.
It’s not like her driving expertise have diminished to the issue the place it’s evidently time to retire. Fairly the reverse, really.
She gained the over-all Globe Cup title in the common two-man or woman women’s self-control, her initially details crown considering that the 2014-15 time. She also claimed the year-prolonged title in the Monobob World Collection — the new driver-only occasion — as effectively.
The silver medal in monobob built her 4 for 4 as considerably as obtaining to the podium in her Olympic appearances she pushed Erin Pac to a bronze at the 2010 Vancouver Video games, then drove to silver at Sochi in 2014 and Pyeongchang in 2018.
“She’s an incredible athlete,” explained Sylvia Hoffman, who will push Meyers Taylor’s sled this weekend in the Olympic women’s race. “She was the to start with pilot that I medaled with. She’s incredibly knowledgeable. She enjoys what she does. She’s pretty family oriented. And then sliding-intelligent, she is a electrical power athlete, strength athlete, and she’s quite speedy. She’s just diverse.”
But at 37, Meyers Taylor doesn’t thoughts stating that the overall body doesn’t bounce again the way it after did. Concussions ended up a issue in recent yrs, nevertheless she would seem to have cleared that hurdle. The biggest issue is spouse and children: Meyers Taylor is the mom of a son with Down syndrome and profound listening to reduction, which has led to some great troubles on a logistical front to maintain her sliding career likely.
Her son, Nico, travels with her on tour it will help that her spouse, Nic, is on the men’s countrywide team as a thrust athlete. A caretaker also traveled with the family members throughout the World Cup time to aid when Nico’s mothers and fathers are at the keep track of. Getting strategies to make it all operate has, by her possess admission, been a problem. And the Olympic experience has been primarily tricky, specified that she examined good for COVID-19 and experienced to go into isolation — this means she was not all over Nico for basically the initial time since he was born.
“My son was taken absent from me, so to shell out an prolonged quantity of time absent from my son, that was the hardest component. Away from my relatives, that was the hardest aspect,” Meyers Taylor said. “This total journey has been a family members mission the overall time. So now to be absent from them at the most essential time, when I required their aid the most, it’s been really challenging.”
She’s quick to position out that her son has been remarkably resilient, noting that he’s taken care of issues far better than almost certainly she even has.
“The finest child in the planet,” she explained.
Beating problems has not been section of her story. It’s been her tale. Meyers Taylor — one particular of at the very least 9 Black gals, most of them American, to medal in bobsled in its 20-yr Olympic historical past — wrote an essay for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee website in 2020 talking about race, racism in athletics and some examples of what she and her partner have experienced.
“My career now, just like any dad or mum, is to ensure my son has a much better life than I do,” she wrote in that piece.
And now, that might imply it is time for a vocation improve.
There is a managing joke in sliding sporting activities: Everybody retires at the time and will come back again. And it’s not unusual to see sliders, soon after an Olympic year, take a victory lap of types and invest 1 very last period enjoying the very last excursion to the numerous tracks close to the environment.
Officially, that has not been dominated out. It also should be noted that the subsequent a few globe championships are scheduled to be held at what possibly are Meyers Taylor’s three favorite tracks — St. Moritz in 2023, Winterberg in 2024 and Lake Placid in 2025 — so the temptation to adhere close to will plainly be there.
For now, all that is certain is one particular very last Olympic race. And then a final decision will have to have to be built.
“All factors ought to occur to an finish,” Meyers Taylor mentioned. “I’ve experienced an amazing journey and if it is the finish, if it is my last race, then I’m heading to get pleasure from the heck out of it.”
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