Bobsled records shattered like thin ice during the final heats of the 2022 Winter Olympics’ two-woman race.
America’s 37-year-old Elana Meyers Taylor — who tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving for these Games, but was cleared just days before her first race — became the most decorated female bobsledder of all time with a bronze medal win.
Backed by pusher Sylvia Hoffman, Meyers Taylor scored a fifth consecutive Olympic medal — more than any other female bobsledder has ever earned. The bronze also made Meyers Taylor the most decorated Black athlete ever at the Winter Olympics.
This marked the American’s second medal at these Games, following silver in the monobob debut.
TWO-WOMAN BOBSLED MEDALISTS AT THE 2022 WINTER OLYMPICS:
GOLD: Laura Nolte/Deborah Levi, GER, 4:03.96
SILVER: Mariama Jamanka/Alexandra Burghardt, GER, (+ 0.77)
BRONZE: Elana Meyers Taylor/Sylvia Hoffman, USA, (+ 1.52)
WATCH FULL EVENT REPLAYS: HEATS 1 AND 2 | HEATS 3 AND 4
The United States has won a medal in every Olympic women’s bobsled event ever contested; Meyers Taylor has helped keep that streak alive for the past 12 years. This was likely the Douglasville, Georgia native’s last professional race. At these Games, she was one of only one of two mothers competing for Team USA.
Meanwhile, Germany won its eighth of nine contested sliding sport races with Laura Nolte‘s two-woman victory. Compatriot Mariama Jamanka clinched second, meaning Germany has now gone one-two for the fifth time across these Games’ luge, skeleton, and bobsled competitions.
Read a more detailed account below.
Nolte was the first to go in Heat 3.
But she practically sealed the deal as soon as she took to the ice, landing another track record in 1:00.70 minutes. Nolte made it look so simple: Hop in a sled, zoom down the course, avoid the walls.
Starting second, Jamanka also scored her best heat yet. But even her fastest run, a 1:00.98, still deepened the divide between Jamanka and leader Nolte by a total of 0.78 seconds across three heats.
Meyers Taylor, who was named her country’s Closing Ceremony flagbearer ahead of the first two heats, was third to slide and solidified her standing. Again, she brought her A-game with a personal best 1:01.13 minutes.
Meyers Taylor leaked 1.17 seconds off the lead after three heats, but still kept Canadian Christine de Bruin at bay with a 0.72-second wedge.
Germany’s Kim Kalicki knocked American monobob gold medalist Kaillie Humphries from the top five, essentially ensuring Humphries would not earn a fourth consecutive two-woman medal.
But perhaps the most eye-popping moment of Heat 3: Canada’s Appiah upended her sled on the notorious curve 13, referred to as “The Dragon’s Tail.” The sharp turn has caused many lugers, skeleton sliders, and bobsledders to turn topside — including Great Britain’s Brad Hall in the two-man competition — but has thankfully not resulted in any serious injuries.
Humphries, the 2010 and 2014 two-woman gold medalist, was just too far back to enter medal position following three runs that were mostly solid but simply not strong enough. She finished in a surprising seventh.
De Bruin and Kalicki suffered similar fates. They all delivered speedy runs, but couldn’t crack the top three.
The pressure was on Meyers Taylor to simply lay down a clean run and earn a historic fifth medal. Though she clocked her slowest heat of the four, her final total was still 0.80 seconds ahead of Kalicki’s.
Meyers Taylor fist-pumped past the finish line, got out of her sled with a few victory whoops, and hugged brakewoman Hoffman.
In a rather anticlimactic finish, Jamanka blazed through her fourth heat, but didn’t need much to secure a silver considering her significant margin ahead of Meyers Taylor.
Nolte, going last, was up over 0.70 seconds. She sailed to victory without a hitch.
“Congratulations!” Meyers Taylor shouted to Nolte after the German crossed the finished, coming in for a hug. “You got a gold medal!”
Germany may have gone one-two, but Meyers Taylor cracked history.
Bobsled at the 2022 Winter Olympics concludes with the men’s competition Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET. Check the bobsled schedule HERE for more information.
SEE MORE: Bobsled 101: Olympic History