Elana Meyers Taylor
Four-time Olympic bobsledder and flag bearer for 2022 Team USA; most decorated Black athlete in Winter Olympics history; advocate for mom-athletes and disability inclusion
Elana Meyers Taylor has brought the heat to bobsled since beginning her career 15 years ago, proving she is a force to be reckoned with and a fierce competitor that handles each awe-inspiring run with courage and determination. From concussions to a partially torn Achilles to testing positive for COVID-19 at one of the global pinnacles of sports, Taylor has proven time and again that she can overcome any and all obstacles thrown her way, for an opportunity to compete that she never takes for granted. What makes her deserving of the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award is not only her grit, determination and undeniable impact she has made within the sports community, but also her efforts to show the world that mom-athletes can compete and win, while using her platform to advocate for racial justice and disability inclusion.
She is a four-time Olympic bobsledder and was flag bearer for Team USA in the 2022 Beijing Winter Games. After earning two historic podium finishes in 2022, Taylor has become the most decorated Black athlete in Winter Olympic history with five medals. Her ability to pilot the d-rings have landed her three silver and two bronze medals since her first Winter Games in 2010. In addition, Taylor is a four-time World Champion, eight-time World Championships medalist, and 2015 World Cup Champion in bobsled. In fact, she has medaled at every single bobsled competition she has ever competed in.
Taylor is a naturally gifted athlete with a knack to compete in many sports. She knew from the young age of nine that she wanted to be an Olympian. Her athletic career began on the softball field, attending George Washington University on a softball scholarship and playing professionally for the Mid-Michigan Ice. She tried out for the U.S. Olympic Softball Team, calling it ‘the worst tryout ever in the history of tryouts’ and thought her long-time Olympic dream was over. It was her parents who saw bobsled on TV and encouraged her to give it a try. That turned out to be great advice.
Her courage to trade in her cleats for spikes has allowed her to accomplish many firsts in the sport of bobsled. In 2015, she made history, becoming the first woman to earn a spot on the U.S. National Team competing with the men as a four-man bobsled pilot. Additionally, she went on to become the first woman to win a medal in international competition in a men’s event.
She is a champion on and off the ice, never yielding and always striving to find ways to remain competitive. She has strong ties to the Women’s Sports Foundation, serving as our President in 2019 and being a former grant recipient. She also served a six-year term as an athlete director on the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Board of Directors and is currently a mentor for Classroom Champions.
Taylor’s most rewarding role is mother to son, Nico, who was born with down syndrome and profound hearing loss. Using her platform, she advocates for equity and inclusion in sports and society. Taylor joined the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities to advocate for inclusive education for children with disabilities. And as the nation learned of COVID-19 impacting her ability to carry the flag into the 2022 Winter Games opening ceremony, she shared the daily challenge and journey to recovery, citing the inspiration of her son to push herself through the obstacles. Carrying the flag in the closing ceremony was a well-deserved and powerful conclusion to that journey.
From bobsled tracks to motherhood, Taylor deftly navigates the twists and turns with courage and determination. She inspires and encourages reaching for your best, and the need for equity and inclusivity for all.