GW Alumna Elana Meyers Taylor Nabs Silver, Bronze Medals at Beijing Olympics

The 37-year-old made history as the most decorated Black athlete in Winter Olympics history and the oldest woman to medal for the US at the Winter Olympics in any sport.

February 23, 2022

Elana Meyers Taylor

Alumna Elana Meyers Taylor celebrates her silver medal in monobob at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. (Getty Images)

By Kristen Mitchell

George Washington University alumna Elana Meyers Taylor claimed a bronze medal in two-woman bobsled and a silver medal in women's monobob at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, becoming the most decorated Black athlete in Winter Olympics history.

Meyers Taylor, B.S. ’06, M.T.A. ’11, HON ’18, a GW softball alum, served as a pilot in the two-woman bobsled alongside teammate Sylvia Hoffman on Saturday, an event in which she claimed Olympics silver in 2014 and 2018 and bronze in 2010. With five medals total, she is Team USA’s most decorated Olympic bobsledder of all-time.

"That is overwhelming," Meyers Taylor told the media following her events. "It’s so crazy to hear that stat and know I’m part of a legacy that’s bigger than me."

Meyers Taylor was elected by fellow Team USA athletes to lead the 2022 U.S. Olympic Team as flag bearer at the Olympics closing ceremony— a significant honor after a challenging start to the games. She was announced as a Team USA flag bearer for the opening ceremony, however, she tested positive for COVID-19 soon after her arrival in Beijing. In isolation, she continued working out to prepare for competition with equipment brought to her hotel room. She was cleared from her quarantine after two negative tests and allowed to compete.

The 37-year-old athlete also competed in the monobob Olympic debut, earning a silver medal in the discipline. With her second-place finish, she became the oldest woman to medal for the United States at the Winter Olympics in any sport and the oldest woman to medal in any Olympic bobsled event. She finished behind Team USA’s Kaillie Humphries, who previously competed for Canada. 

Meyers Taylor was among the medal favorites in both events after securing world cup titles in both disciplines in January.

Meyers Taylor called her pursuit of Olympic gold a family affair. Her husband, Nic, is an alternate in men's bobsled for Team USA, and the two have traveled the world together with their 2-year-old son, Nico, for competitions. Meyers Taylor took time away from the sport after Nico was born. Meyers Taylor described Nico, who has Down syndrome and profound hearing loss, as her main motivation to continue bobsledding. The family of three all tested positive for COVID-19 in Beijing and had to isolate separately, which made a challenging situation even more difficult, Meyers Taylor said.

“We planned for all kinds of worst-case scenarios at the games, but this was something that I didn’t see coming,” she told the Washington Post

Even after she was cleared to compete, Meyers Taylor described experiencing the tiredness and brain fog associated with COVID-19. Meyers Taylor was concerned she might have to drop out of the monobob but put together two strong runs on the final day of competition to secure a silver medal.

Meyers Taylor, a Monumental Alumna, was awarded an honorary degree during commencement on the National Mall in 2018. She graduated from the GW School of Business in 2011 with a master’s degree in sports management after completing a B.S. in exercise science in 2006 at the GW Milken Institute School of Public Health. 

Meyers Taylor was the GW softball program’s first recruit, playing from 2003 to 2007. She graduated as the team’s all-time leader in nearly every offensive category. The Georgia native was twice an Atlantic 10 Student-Athlete of the Year and Capital One/Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-American during her impressive career at GW.

Meyers Taylor decided she wanted to be an Olympian as a child when the 1996 Summer Olympics were held in Atlanta. After two unsuccessful tryouts for the United States national softball team and the sport’s hiatus from Olympic competition, her parents encouraged her to think about bobsled. Meyers Taylor was invited to audition for the bobsled national team after graduating from GW and was asked to join the team. 

Meyers Taylor was inducted into the GW Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014. Her No. 24 was retired by the program later that year. 

Meyers Taylor returned to GW in 2019 to mark National Girls and Women in Sports Day, and spoke about the impact of sports on her life. 

"What's great is you never know where sports are going to take you," she said. "It's all about taking that adventure, taking that next step and making the most of your opportunity."