The daughter of a professional football player, Elana was born in Oceanside, California, but grew up in Douglasville, Georgia. A naturally gifted athlete across many sports, she was drawn to softball and by the time she was nine years old, she declared her intention to become an Olympian. She attended George Washington University on a softball scholarship and went on to play professionally for the Mid-Michigan Ice. After what she calls “the worst tryout ever in the history of tryouts” for the US Olympic Softball Team, it appeared her Olympic dreams were over.
It was her parents who saw bobsled on TV and suggested she give it a try. That turned out to be great advice. In the summer of 2007 she made the trip to Lake Placid, NY, home of the US National Bobsled Team. She never left. Elana turned out to be an incredibly powerful brakeman and less than three years later she stood on the podium in Vancouver as an Olympic Bronze Medalist.
Post Vancouver, Elana decided to take the wheel, or in the case of the bobsled, the ‘D-rings’, and transition to the role of driver. That too turned out to be a great decision. Not long after, she became a regular on medals’ podiums around the world, and eventually drove herself all the way back to the Olympic podium in 2014, this time in Sochi, Russia, and this time for silver. Later that year, she became Elana Meyers Taylor, marrying fellow bobsled athlete, Nic Taylor.
In 2015, Elana made history, becoming the first woman to earn a spot on the US National Team competing with the men, as part of a four-man bobsled pilot. She went on to become the first woman to win a medal in international competition in a men’s event. That same year, she won the World Championships in the two-woman event, the first woman in U.S. history to do so. In 2018, at the Olympic Games in PyeongChang, Elana battled back and forth with Team Germany over the four heat Olympic competition, missing the gold medal by just .07.
On February 8, 2020, Elana and Nic welcomed their first child, Nico, into the world. Nico was born with Down syndrome and severe hearing loss and spent the first week of his life fighting to survive. The following winter, Nico and his parents began traveling the world in pursuit of another few minutes on the Olympic podium for Elana, for the first time as a mother. After a grueling final year leading into the 2022 Olympics–including a last minute positive Covid test just as the Olympics began–Elana made her way back to the podium not once, but twice, winning silver in the inaugural Mono-bob competition, and bronze in the two-woman competition. In doing so, she once again made history, become the most decorated black athlete in the history of the Olympic Winter Games.