Each year, we ask a small a group of athletes to take part in a structured level of involvement with the Foundation by joining our Athlete Advisory Panel. Panelists act as the face and voice of the Foundation by promoting our mission, attending our events and spreading the word about us to fellow athletes, to their sponsors and to fans. Most importantly, Advisory Panel members act as the eyes and ears of all female athletes, telling us what work needs to be done and giving us insight into how we can continue to elevate female athletes. Athlete Advisory Panel members are always considered for promotion onto our Board of Trustees where they serve alongside some of sports’ and business’ biggest movers-and-shakers; Board athletes are also eligible to be selected as WSF President, a prestigious position help by former champions like Laila Ali, Dominique Dawes and Nancy Lieberman.
We are proud to welcome three new champions onto the Panel, all accomplished leaders in their sports. Keep reading to learn more about ice dancer Meryl Davis, climber Sasha DiGiulian and bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor.
Meryl Davis, three-time Olympic medalist, ice dancing:
Meryl first stepped onto the ice — a frozen lake near her Michigan home — at five, and two decades later, with long-time partner Charlie White, became the United States’ first Olympic ice dancing gold medalist. Meryl is a two-time World champion, the 2010 Olympic silver medalist, a two-time World silver medalist, and a six-time U.S. national champion. In October 2014, she was honored with our Sportswoman of the Year award. At the 2014 Winter Olympics, Meryl also won a bronze medal in the team event. A proud Detroit native, Meryl is a student at the University of Michigan studying cultural anthropology. She has a long-term goal of starting her own Foundation and is a strong believer in the power of sports for all. Meryl says, “the beauty of sport is that it allows us to find our strength. It allows us to find our voice and our confidence, whether it’s on the field of play or off.”
Sasha DiGiulian, world-record setting climber
Sasha attempted her first climb at just six years old and since has successfully completed climbs around the world few have dared to even try. Sasha is a three-time US National Champion and a multi-time Pan-American Champion. In 2011, Sasha was the Female Overall World Champion. She is the first and only North American woman to climb an ascent with a difficult grade of 5.14d (9a), as well as the first North American woman to onsight 5.14a (8b+). Along with her many outdoor and competition climbing achievements, Sasha has been honored with numerous awards including the Cutting Edge Athlete Award for 2014 performance and the Golden Piton Award in 2012. In addition to her climbing career, the Alexandria, VA, native is currently a student at Columbia University, where she is studying Nonfiction Writing and Business. Her writing has been published in National Geographic, Outside Magazine, Seventeen and a number of other publications. Sasha is an Athlete Representative on the board of the International Federation of Sport Climbing, is a passionate advocate for gender equity in her sport and relishes her position as role model to female climbers with dreams of the top.
Elana Meyers Taylor, two-time Olympic medalist, bobsled
Elana Meyers Taylor is a 2015 Sportswoman of the Year finalist and a Travel & Training Fund grantee in 2010 and 2013. In February 2015, Elana and her pusher Cherrelle Garrett beat three German crews to win the first world championship title in women’s bobsled for the United States. This also made Elana the first U.S. bobsled driver, either male or female, in 56 years to win a worlds title on a non-North American track. She won a silver in Sochi 2014, a bronze in Vancouver 2010 and is currently training for gold in Pyeongchang 2018. Elana is a graduate of George Washington University, where she was a member of the softball team, and holds an MBA, for which she interned in the IOC’s finance department in Lausanne last summer. She is passionate about youth sports, equity in Olympic sports and has a keen interest in the ongoing concussion and female athletes conversation.