Elana Meyers Taylor became the most decorated Black athlete in Winter Olympics history after she won the bronze medal in the two-woman bobsleigh at Beijing 2022 on Saturday – and one of the American bobsledder’s initial emotions was a sense of being overwhelmed by her achievement.
The medal is the fifth for Meyers Taylor – passing Shani Davis’ four – as the 37-year-old became the most decorated woman Olympic bobsledder of all-time.
“That is overwhelming,” said Meyers Taylor when she was asked about surpassing Davis’ record.
“It’s so crazy to hear that stat and to know that I’m part of a legacy that’s bigger than me. Hopefully it just encourages more and more black athletes to come out to winter sports and not just black athletes, winter sports for everybody.
“We want everybody to come out regardless of the colour of your skin. We want winter sports to be for everybody, regardless of race, regardless of socio-economic class.
“I think the more diversity we have, the stronger our sport can be. So hopefully this is just the start of more and more people coming out and trying winter sports.”
The four-time Olympian is a three-time silver medal winner – Sochi 2014, PyeongChang 2018 and Beijing 2022 – as well as a two-time bronze medalist at Vancouver in 2020 and this year’s Games.
Meyers Taylor had nearly missed Beijing 2022 after testing positive for Covid-19 upon her arrival in China.
“This has been an incredible Olympics starting off in isolation I had no idea what was possible but fortunately I had a great team behind me who believed in me who believed that this was possible and I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome,” said the 37-year-old.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better Olympics and it just goes to show you that even when the cards are stacked against you if you have the right support behind you, you can still achieve great things.”
On Friday, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee announced that Meyers Taylor had been elected to be Team USA’s flagbearer at Sunday’s Closing Ceremony.
She was also elected to lead Team USA at Beijing 2022’s Opening Ceremony, but was unable to participate after her positive Covid-19 test.
Sunday’s ceremony is likely to be an emotional occasion for Meyers Taylor, who has hinted this would likely be her last Olympics.
“I’m going to take some time to really think about this. It’s going to be really hard to top this Olympics. Two medals and now closing it out with flagbearer, it’s going to be really, really hard to top that.”