Mom-athletes continue to prove it’s possible to manage careers in professional sports and motherhood. Illustrious bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor is no exception. Winning five medals in four Olympics, she has medaled in every event she has ever competed in. In Beijing, she was elected by Team USA members to be their flag bearer for both opening and closing ceremonies, the first time this has happened since 1948. She is the most decorated Black athlete in Winter Games history, but the title she is most proud of is Mother.
With her second-place finish, the 37-year-old mom became the oldest woman to medal for the United States at the Winter Olympics in any sport and the oldest woman to medal in any Olympic bobsled event. She won a silver and bronze in Winter Games 2022, but her most prized possession is her 2-year-old son, Nico. Meyers Taylor says driving a bobsled is easier than being a mom.
"In bobsledding, I've got every track memorized, and I know the speeds required, but there is no predictability in parenting," she says. "With Nico, I know only a few things for sure, like he's going to go to sleep, he'll need to eat, and he will need his diaper changed."
Nico was born with Down syndrome and deaf in both ears, so she keeps a busy schedule managing his care with her husband and trainer, U.S. national team bobsledder Nicholas Taylor.
"The cool thing about our journey is we've been able to share the responsibility," says Meyers Taylor. "He equally looks for us both and gets whatever he wants. It's a good mix."
Meyers Taylor can also count on her own dad, Eddie Meyers, a former professional football player for the Naval Academy and the Atlanta Falcons who traveled to Beijing as a caregiver for Nico. Families were allowed to travel if the athlete was breastfeeding.
Meyers Taylor met with SoFu Lifestyle to discuss how she balances her career and motherhood.
SFL: Does Nico like watching you race?
EMT: He loves watching on T.V., but he doesn't like the feel of snow. Elmo, however, takes the cake over any bobsled race.
SFL: How do you balance motherhood with training?
EMT: Every season, there are eight races. October to April, we're on the ice, running and lifting 4 to 6 hours a day, six days a week. Nico goes to workouts with me. He's been a part of this the entire time. In summer, we're home in Atlanta. We’re gone from November to February.
SFL: Do you find any similarities between bobsledding and motherhood?
EMT: In bobsledding, they look for strong, fast, and powerful women. Especially now that Nico is up and crawling, I need these skills. You can tell he is the child of two bobsledders. Changing his diaper is an athletic feat in itself!
SFL: How does it feel to be a decorated Black athlete in Winter Olympics history?
EMT: It's going to be really hard to top two medals and closing out the Olympics with being a flagbearer.
SFL: Are you considering calling it quits?
EMT: There are definitely more days behind me than in front of me in bobsledding.
SFL: What's next for you?
EMT: The sky is the limit. We want to add to the family.
SFL: What is your favorite mom moment?
EMT: Every day with Nico is my favorite. I cherish every moment. We weren't sure what our communication would look like, so every sound he makes is amazing. It’s incredible. Singing him to sleep is the best. I don't take anything for granted.
SFL: What is your favorite self-care thing?
EMT: Manicures and pedicures. I do those alone.
Elana Meyers Taylor’s plate is already full, but she still finds time to volunteer as an Athlete Mentor for Classroom Champions, a nonprofit organization partnering Olympic and Paralympic athletes with students and teachers in underserved communities.