Elana Meyers Taylor is a three-time Olympian and Olympic medalist as a bobsled pilot, most recently taking silver at the 2018 PyeongChang Games with pusher Lauren Gibbs. She married fellow elite bobsledder Nic Taylor in 2018, and the two welcomed their first child, Nico, just ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meyers Taylor played collegiate softball at Georgetown University, but after her Olympic dreams in that sport didn't pan out, she turned to bobsled and made her Olympic debut in 2010.
Throughout her career, Meyers Taylor has been an advocate for women's and racial equality in sports. In June 2020, she penned a first-person essay on TeamUSA.org detailing instances of racism she experienced in the sport, prompting USA Bobsled & Skeleton to launch an investigation. At the 2022 Winter Games, Meyers Taylor will compete not only in the two-woman discipline, but in the newly added women's monobob.
Meyers Taylor experienced a rollercoaster ride at these latest Olympics before competition even began. Shortly after touching down, she tested positive for COVID-19 and was kept in isolation. A few days later, she received news she had been selected as the United States' flagbearer, but instead gave the honor to speed skater Brittany Bowe. On February 5, the bobsledder was cleared to compete.
As part of our preparation for the 2022 Winter Games, NBC Olympics sent questionnaires to multiple athletes to learn more about their lives both inside and outside of sports. Here’s what we found out about Meyers Taylor:
Tell us about your family.
My husband Nic Taylor is a bobsledder as well and also about to graduate from chiropractic school. He was an Olympic alternate for the 2018 team. My son is 17 months [now 20 months] and is the happiest boy in the world. He has Down syndrome and profound hearing loss and is aided by cochlear implants -- he's the strongest person I know. My dad is a former pro football player, now a banker, and my mom is a homemaker. My older sister and brother-in-law are both educators, while my younger sister is a nurse and her husband works in tech. I have a total of seven nieces and nephews
My father's side of the family is from Jamaica, Panama, and Columbia.
How influential were your parents in your athletic career?
Huge! My dad was a professional football player and my mom played plenty of sports growing up -- they are the reason I got into bobsled as they found it on TV.
How does being a parent affect your training?
Nico was born right before the pandemic, so things have been a learning process the entire time trying to figure out how to navigate life with a baby. He is my main motivation and the reason why I'm still bobsledding. He works so hard in his daily life to achieve his milestones -- it's crazy inspiring. He loves to watch Olympic weightlifting. He's easy-going and travels with me during the bobsled season -- I think he just loves being around his mom
Describe a typical training day.
On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I do double days of running in the morning and lifting in the afternoon. Tuesdays and Saturdays, I do a running workout or recovery workout. Thursdays are off.
My schedule changes every day based off of what other duties I have with Nico -- he has multiple therapies a week.
How much time to you train? How much do you sleep?
I spent about four to six hours a day of training. These days I don't sleep nearly enough with a baby -- every day is different.
What’s your nutrition plan?
In the morning, I have coffee, two eggs and toast. For lunch and dinner, a lean protein, veggies and starch. For snacks I have granola, Greek yogurt and random things that my baby eats.
I have to lose weight for bobsled so it's constant checking to make sure I’m not over-eating and eating the right things.
Have you ever worked with a sports psychologist?
Yes, I still do. I think it's one of the greatest tools you can use to help your performance. I talk with them about everything and it helps me get into a racing mindset. It's been particularly useful as I come back from pregnancy.
What's the biggest obstacle that you've overcome?
The NICU stay with my son was definitely, single-handedly the hardest thing ever. Then adjusting to taking him home and waking up all hours of the night to make sure he was OK and breathing. Bobsled was the furthest thing from my mind.
How did the pandemic impact your preparation?
We were at home getting used to being parents and trying to start back training. We got weights set up in a garage at home and also were fortunate to get outside to be able to run; it was very difficult as I was just returning to training postpartum. I needed therapies and treatment to help overcome childbirth but had no access; also Nico was with me for every workout because we didn't have the option to ask people for help. However, my husband was also there, too, because his schooling went online. It was challenging but we made it work. Nico and I spent a lot of time together as we didn't go anywhere. aAny necessities we needed -- groceries, supplies -- my husband would go on runs.
What's your earliest memory of the Olympics?
1996 Olympics -- when they were in Atlanta, I got to hold the torch as it came through. Watching the action first-hand, I knew I could make it there someday. Seeing all the women's sports do so well -- gymnastics, softball, soccer, basketball -- it was inspiring.