With the opening ceremony just days away, double George Washington University alumna Elana Meyers, B.S. ’06, M.T.A. ’11, is gearing up to compete with the U.S. Olympic bobsled team in Sochi.
Ms. Meyers recently claimed two victories at the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation’s 2013 World Cup in Park City, Utah, and already has one Olympic medal under her belt.
The former GW softball player won bronze at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver when she competed as a brakeman, becoming the first GW athletics graduate to stand on an Olympic podium. Come Feb. 19, Ms. Meyers—who has since switched to the driver’s seat—has every intention of climbing on the podium again.
“This time,” she said, “I’m definitely looking to go for gold.”
Ms. Meyers graduated from GW’s School of Business in 2011 with a master’s degree in sports management, after she completed a B.S. in exercise science at the School of Public Health and Health Services in 2006.
“What I was able to learn—things like how the body moves and about proper nutrition—directly correlates to my training,” she told GW Magazine in the fall.
While Ms. Meyers is ranked as one of the world’s fastest bobsled pilots, she considers softball to be her first love. At GW, Ms. Meyers played shortstop and pitcher for the university’s softball team. She was named to the ECAC Division I softball All-Star team in July 2007 as a shortstop after leading the Colonials to their first Atlantic 10 Tournament appearance. She stands as the program’s all-time leader in hits, batting average, on-base percentage, runs and games played. On Saturday Ms. Meyers will be inducted into the GW Athletic Hall of Fame along with seven former GW athletes.
So how does a one-time softball hopeful go to Olympic bobsledding medalist? Ms. Meyers always dreamed of winning Olympic gold, but softball was dropped from the games before she had a chance to compete. Never one to give up easily, Ms. Meyers switched her focus.
“I knew it was worth a try to relive my Olympic dream,” Ms. Meyers explains. “I fell in love with the feeling of being in my sled. That feeling—every time, I have butterflies.”
The daughter of a professional football player, Ms. Meyers has sportsmanship in her blood. So it’s no surprise that she contributed to the growth of the women’s softball team during her time at GW.
“Being there from the beginning of that program, I learned so much about team dynamics and team culture. It really influenced me as an athlete,” she said. “I was also involved in clubs and groups, and those leadership roles helped me on the ice. I can’t credit GW enough for the things I’ve learned.”
Ms. Meyers has taken these lessons with her on the path to the Olympics, and said she is excited to see what happens when she hits the ice in Sochi, whether or not she wins a medal.
“[A medal] is not going to determine if I’m satisfied,” she said. “The steps I’m taking every day as I train and prepare—if I know that I’ve put everything I had into my races and my preparation, I’m going to feel that I’ve done my country proud.”
There will be an opening ceremony viewing party at 7 p.m. in the Smith Center Colonials Club on Friday, with snacks, trivia and prizes. The event is hosted by GW’s Center for Alcohol and other Drug Education, GW Athletics, the Multicultural Student Services Center, the Office for Study Abroad, Allied in Pride and various other student groups.