After the two-woman bobsled was completed on Saturday, Team USA’s Elana Meyers Taylor and Sylvia Hoffman celebrated their bronze medal victory.
Their appearance on the podium was significant for two reasons. One, they are both Black women who medaled in the Winter Games.
Two, and more significantly, Meyers Taylor made history by becoming the most decorated Black athlete in Winter Olympics history.
The 37-year-old Olympian is one of the most accomplished women in bobsled history, but her success has opened doors in particular for Black women to shoot through.
Over her distinguished career, Meyers Taylor has garnered five Olympic medals across four Olympic games.
She won bronze in Vancouver (2010), silver in Sochi (2014), silver in Pyeongchang (2018), and then silver and bronze this year in Beijing. Her fifth medal elevated her over American speedskater Shani Davis, the first African American athlete to win a gold medal in an individual Winter Olympics event.
Davis won gold in the 1,000m and silver in the 1,500 in Torino (2006) and then gold and silver, respectively, in Vancouver (2010).
Elana Meyers Taylor’s win also marked her fourth straight podium finish in the two-woman bobsledding event.
It’s a thrilling accomplishment for the former college softball player, and she recognizes its significance.
“That is overwhelming,” said Meyers Taylor. “It’s so crazy to hear that stat and to know that I’m part of a legacy that’s bigger than me.”
Her legacy is opening doors for Black women in the sport and also helping to transform the definition of what a traditional bobsled athlete looks like. According to the NY Times, there are seven Black women on the eight-woman U.S. World Cup bobsled team and four of the five women who competed in bobsledding in Beijing are Black.
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