Elana Meyers Taylor keeps faith, gets the good news she’s waited for

Elana Meyers Taylor competes in a two-woman bobsled World Cup event.
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Three-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor got the good news she’s been waiting for on Saturday in Beijing and is cleared to compete in the bobsled competitions after producing two negative COVID-19 tests.

The news is the latest development in what’s been whirlwind journey for Meyers Taylor upon arrival at her fourth Winter Olympics, looking for her fourth consecutive medal in the two-women bobsled (bronze in 2010, silver in 2014 and 2018) and her first appearance in the women’s monobob, which is making its Olympic event debut.

Shortly after traveling to China, she tested positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 29 and was forced to isolate away from husband, Nic Taylor, an alternate on the men’s bobsled team, and 2-year-old son, Nico, both of whom came with her and also tested positive. Then, the Georgia native was chosen as a flag bearer for Team USA alongside curler John Shuster, and in turn presented the honor to speed skater Brittany Bowe, who made headlines last month when she gave up her spot in the 500m to teammate and medal favorite Erin Jackson.

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“It’s funny how [my goal] changes,” she shared in a video diary midway through her quarantine. “My goal was to come in here and win two gold medals, but now it’s like, if I can just get to the starting line, I can make good things happen.”

Don’t be fooled – Meyers Thomas has already been making something positive out of what could have been a devastating situation: She found a breast pump, and staff were able to deliver breast milk to Nico, who stayed just two doors down with her father (Nic stayed next door). She also got daily deliveries from family, friends and teammates, including a stationary bike from USA Bobsled and Skeleton.

“They’ve been sending me notes on the track and doing different things like that,” she said Saturday on Weekend TODAY, noting she would be leaving the isolation facility that evening. “I also have tons and tons of video from our coaches, who’ve just been doing everything they can to keep me engaged and keep me involved. So, I’ve just been going over that as much as I can and watching video and doing whatever I can to stay ready.”

To that end, Meyers Taylor designed fitness program she could do within a small dormitory-sized room, getting her steps in by pacing and doing lateral exercises and eventually procuring a barbell to get in some heavy lifting. Despite the physical separation, she also figured out ways to connect to Nico, who was born with Down syndrome. Beyond regular FaceTime calls, Meyers Taylor arranged an online auction of her Team USA Opening Ceremony jacket with all proceeds going to the National Down Syndrome Society.

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“This was going to be my Games to get those medals and ride off into the sunset with my kid, think about whether I want to retire,” she reflected in her video diary. “Mom guilt gets the best of you… It’s one thing not being able to go after your Olympic dream in the way you want to, it’s a whole other thing when you have that dream be dissipated and not have your kid with you.”

But as she checked her watch during her interview, undoubtedly eager to be reunited with her family and resume training, Meyers Taylor focus was still clear:

“I just want to show him that you can face obstacles and have challenges and overcome them and go after your goals,” she said. “This Games has turned out to be one of the most challenging ones I’ve ever competed at, and I just want to show him that his mother never gave up.”

Elana Meyers Taylor’s Bobsled Schedule at the 2022 Winter Olympics

Event  Date/Time (U.S. Eastern Time) Date/Time (Beijing, China)
Women’s Monobob (Runs 1 & 2) 2/12/22 8:30 PM 2/13/22 9:30 AM
Women’s Monobob (Runs 3 & 4) 2/13/22 8:30 PM 2/14/22 9:30 AM
Two-women (Runs 1 & 2) 2/18/22 7:00 AM 2/18/22 8:00 PM
Two-women (Runs 1 & 2) 2/19/22 7:00 AM 2/19/22 8:00 PM

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