When American bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor earned her fifth Olympic medal on Saturday, she became not only the most decorated woman in Olympic bobsled history but also the most decorated Black athlete in Winter Games history.
In the two-woman bobsled event, the 37-year-old took bronze with colleague Sylvia Hoffman. “Overwhelming,” Taylor said of the accomplishment.
“It’s crazy to hear that statistic and realize I’m a part of something bigger than myself,” she remarked. “Hopefully, it will motivate more black athletes to participate in winter sports, not just black athletes, but winter sports for everyone.”
Despite winning bronze, Taylor and Hoffman set a new world record with a push timing of 5.30 seconds and a combined time of 4:05.48, according to Team USA. Team USA highlighted that her bronze medal made her the fifth bobsledder in US history to earn two medals in a single Olympics tournament. Taylor has also won medals in each of the five Olympic events in which she has competed.
“I’ve been on Olympic podiums before, but none have been more difficult to achieve than this,” she remarked. “It’s simply been fantastic, and I can’t express how much this means to me.”
Taylor was chosen by her fellow competitors to carry the American flag at the Olympic Closing Ceremony on Sunday at Beijing’s National Stadium. She was “proud” to be appointed the Opening Ceremony flag bearer despite missing the Winter Olympics opening ceremony due to COVID-19, she stated.
Taylor, the daughter of a professional football player, told Forbes that when she was nine years old, she started her “intention to become an Olympian.”
“Every time I speak with a young person, I tell them the benefits of sports and try to encourage them to play as many sports as they can, but with the emphasis that it can be a vehicle to whatever direction their life will take next,” she said, describing herself as “a huge advocate of playing multiple sports.”
According to CNN, Taylor has won three silver medals — in Sochi 2014, PyeongChang 2018, and Beijing 2022 — as well as two bronze medals in Vancouver 2020 and this year’s Games.