Meyers Taylor and Humphries lead U.S. women’s bobsled team for Beijing

Elana Meyers Taylor of the United States bobsled team
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The U.S. women’s bobsled team for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will be led by pilots Kaillie Humphries and Elana Meyers Taylor. They will be joined by push athletes Sylvia Hoffman and Kaysha Love, both of whom will be making their Olympic debuts in China.

Hoffman, who competed in track & field at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, was recruited to bobsled following an appearance on “The Next Olympic Hopeful.”

Love, who also competed as a sprinter at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, is even fresher newcomer to the bobsled world. She was introduced to the sport during a two-week push camp in November 2020 and competed in her first international bobsled event less than two months ago.

USA Bobsled/Skeleton announced the team on Monday after the final World Cup of the season in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Meyers Taylor and Humphries were considered locks for the U.S. bobsled team, especially after Humphries secured her U.S. citizenship in December. The two pilots are tied for most Olympic medals by a female bobsledder (3) and should contend for medals in both the two-woman and inaugural monobob competition in Beijing.

But the battle for push athlete (also known as brakemen) Olympic spots was especially competitive.

Three decorated athletes – Lolo Jones, Lauren Gibbs, Aja Evans – were left off the U.S. roster, though Evans will serve as an alternate.

After competing at two Olympics as a hurdler, Jones made her bobsled debut at the 2014 Sochi Games, finishing 10th with driver Jazmine Fenlator (who now represents Jamaica). More recently, Jones won the 2021 two-woman world title with Humphries.

Gibbs won silver at the 2018 PyeongChang Games with Meyers Taylor, while Evans competed with Jamie Greubel Poser at two Olympics, winning bronze in 2014 and finishing fifth in 2018.

Because men compete in both two-man and four-man events, there are far more push athlete/brakemen spots available to male athletes than female athletes. While the U.S. will send two male and two female pilots to Beijing, six American men will have the opportunity to compete as push athletes compared to two women.

This gender disparity is one of the reasons why Meyers Taylor and Humphries advocated for adding a four-woman event – rather than the monobob – to the Olympic program.

“We intended to try and get more women in, to give more medal opportunities to the female brakemen, too,” Meyers Taylor said at the Team USA media summit in October.

READ MORE: The Olympic monobob medal favorites? They didn’t want an Olympic monobob event

While Meyers Taylor and Humphries have long been friends, the 2022 Beijing Winter Games will mark their first Olympic appearance as teammates. Humphries previously represented Canada, but the two-time Olympic gold medalist departed the federation in 2019 after filing a complaint alleging verbal and mental harassment by Canada’s bobsled coach.

Meyers Taylor has also dealt with some life changes since 2018. She and husband Nic Taylor (who was named as an alternate for the 2022 U.S. Olympic bobsled team) welcomed son Nico in February 2020. Nico has Down syndrome and profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss.

“It’s been quite an adventure the whole time,” Meyers Taylor said in October. “Figuring out how to train, how to breastfeed, how to do all these different things, how to travel around the world.”

U.S. Women’s Bobsled Team for the 2022 Winter Olympics:

  • Pilots (two-woman and monobob): Kaillie Humphries (Calgary, Alberta) and Elana Meyers Taylor (Douglasville, GA)
  • Push athletes (two-woman): Sylvia Hoffman (Arlington, TX) and Kaysha Love (Herriman, UT)
  • Alternate: Aja Evans (Chicago, IL)

MORE BOBSLED COVERAGE: Despite the name, monobob is not a one-woman event

Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC