On Saturday when American Bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor won her fifth Olympic medal, she became not only the most decorated woman to ever compete in the Olympic bobsled but also the most decorated Black athlete in the history of the Winter Games.
The 37-year-old earned a bronze medal in the two-woman bobsled event with teammate Sylvia Hoffman. Taylor described the achievement as “overwhelming.”
“It’s so crazy to hear that stat and know I’m part of a legacy that’s bigger than me,” she said. “Hopefully, it just encourages more and more black athletes to come out to winter sports and not just black athletes, winter sports for everybody.”
Even though she won a bronze medal, Taylor and Hoffman recorded a record-setting push time of 5.30 seconds and finished with a combined time of 4:05.48, said Team USA. The bronze medal also made her the fifth bobsledder in U.S. history to win two medals in a single Olympics competition, Team USA added. Taylor has also been able to medal in all five Olympic events that she has entered.
“I’ve been on Olympic podiums before but I can’t think of any that’s been harder to get than here,” she said. “So it’s just been incredible and I can’t even put into words what this means.”
Taylor was elected by her fellow athletes to serve as the American flagbearer for the Closing Ceremony of the Olympics at Beijing’s National Stadium on Sunday. She missed the Winter Olympics opening ceremony due to COVID-19 and so was “honored” to be named the Opening Ceremony flag bearer, she said.
Taylor, the daughter of a professional football player, told Forbes that she declared her “intention to become an Olympian” at nine years old.
As someone who describes herself as “a huge advocate of playing multiple sports”, she said: “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.”
Taylor 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, according to CNN.