Last week, in historic yet understated fashion, Elana Meyers Taylor became the most decorated Black athlete in Winter Olympics history. When most Black folks are trying to stay warm in the winter, Elana Meyers Taylor’s outside putting in work.
Meyers Taylor began bobsledding in 2007. She competed in the Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014, and PyeongChang 2018 games before 2022’s Beijing. To date, she’s won three silver and two bronze in the Winter Olympics.
Meyers Taylor, 37, won bronze at Beijing 2022. The win also made her the most decorated female Olympic bobsledder. The title was previously held by Shani Davis, who had four medals.
Meyers Taylor is more than an athlete.
“It’s so crazy to hear that stat and to know that I’m part of a legacy that’s bigger than me,” she said, according to CNN. “Hopefully it just encourages more and more Black athletes to come out to winter sports and not just Black athletes, winter sports for everybody.”
Meyers Taylor has advocated for women’s and racial equality in sports throughout her career. In June 2020, her first-person essay on TeamUSA.org detailed racist experiences in the sport, prompting USA Bobsled & Skeleton to launch an investigation.
Where did she get the inspiration for becoming the athlete she is today? Where else but Atlanta. According to Meyers Taylor, it was the “1996 Olympics — when they were in Atlanta, I got to hold the torch as it came through. Watching the action first-hand, I knew I could make it there someday. Seeing all the women’s sports do so well — gymnastics, softball, soccer, basketball — it was inspiring.”
Though she has yet to earn a gold medal, her consistent performance, even after a complicated pregnancy, has been the stuff of legend. Meyers Taylor adds her name to a growling list of influential Black athletes who are changing the landscape of sports forever and inspiring a new generation in the process.