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Winter Olympics Live Updates: Latest Medal Count and News

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Elana Meyers Taylor of the United States became the most decorated black athlete in Winter Olympics history on Saturday by winning the bronze medal in the two-man bobsleigh event at the Beijing Games.

The bronze was her fifth Olympic medal, one more than that won by American speed skater Shani Davis in her Olympic career, and marked her fourth straight podium in the two-man event.

“It’s overwhelming,” Meyers Taylor said. “It’s so crazy to hear that stat and know that I’m part of a legacy bigger than me.”

Meyers Taylor’s bronze medal joined his previous three medals in the event – silvers at Pyeongchang in 2018 and Sochi in 2014, and a bronze at Vancouver in 2010 – and the silver she won in the inaugural monobob competition last week.

Laura Nolte and Deborah Levi of Germany took gold in the two-man event, with compatriots Mariama Jamanka and Alexandra Burghardt close behind.

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M. Jamanka / A. Burghardt

Winter Olympics Live Updates: Latest Medal Count and News







E. Meyers Taylor / S. Hoffman

Winter Olympics Live Updates: Latest Medal Count and News

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Germany’s victory was no surprise: the country won eight of nine gold medals awarded in luge, skeleton and bobsleigh, and 14 of 27 sliding medals overall. But equally surprising was the presence of Meyers Taylor among the leaders.

At 37, she is one of the most decorated women in bobsleigh history. But she’s also the latest in the line of black women on Team USA that has created a legacy of success stretching back two decades and redefined what a winter Olympian can look like and where she can be found. Meyers Taylor, for example, attended college on a softball scholarship and once dreamed of a Summer Games career.

Credit…Julian Finney/Getty Images

Now, instead of being an outlier, she and her athletic past are representative of her team. Seven of the eight members of the current U.S. women’s World Cup bobsleigh team are black, as are four of the five women who competed at the Beijing Games. Not only is Meyers Taylor, who discovered the sport after watching Vonetta Flowers become the first black athlete to win a gold medal at the Winter Games in 2002, but also Meyers Taylor’s brakeman Sylvia Hoffman, a former college basketball player who trained to become an Olympic weightlifter.

“She’s the reason I do bobsledding,” Meyers Taylor said of Flowers in a pre-Games interview. “Watching her and seeing someone who looks like me showed that it was possible. Without her, I would never have thought that winter sports were only for people who looked like us.

On Saturday, her own achievement was one she hoped would resonate.

“Hopefully this encourages more and more black athletes to come to winter sports,” Meyers Taylor said, adding that his message of inclusion and participation was not just for black athletes.

“We want everyone to come out, no matter what color your skin is,” she said. “We want winter sports to be accessible to everyone, 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 getting out and trying winter sports.

With two medals in her pocket, Meyers Taylor has one more task at the Games: she has been chosen as the American flag bearer for the closing ceremony on Sunday. This is the second time she has been honored by her teammates in a month. When she was selected to carry the flag at the opening ceremony, she had to decline: Meyers Taylor had tested positive for coronavirus just days after arriving in Beijing.

That night, she watched the ceremony from her room in an isolation hotel. On Sunday, she says, she will soak up the moment.

“It’s such a humble and such a great honor, and I’m so excited for it,” Meyers Taylor said. “There are so many great athletes that they could have chosen, and the fact that they recognized how important it was to be chosen in the opening ceremony and gave me the opportunity to walking though as I finish – I can’t even put into words what this means to me, and I can’t wait to get out there on the floor and experience it.

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