bobsledder Elana Meyers-Taylor wrote that the best way for her to send a message about the host nation of the Olympics, amid calls for various forms of boycott, is to attend the Beijing Games.
“I understand the concerns about human rights and freedom of expression in China,” Meyers Taylor, a three-time medalist competing at her fourth Games, wrote in an opinion piece for USA today. “Going to Beijing and competing – as an American, a woman, a person of color and as a parent with special needs – says more than any boycott.”
Meyers Taylor, 37, has a unique perspective.
She has been part of the Olympic Movement since her debut at the Vancouver Games in 2010.
While competing at the pinnacle of her sport, she served as President of the Women’s Sports Foundation, interned at the IOC headquarters in Switzerland, and earned an MBA in finance. She spoke out against racism and gender inequality in bobsledding.
She flew to Beijing with her husband, US Olympic bobsled alternate Nic Taylor, and their one-year-old son Nico, who was born with Down syndrome and profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss.
“For the past few years, we’ve been training around the clock for this opportunity,” Meyers Taylor wrote. “We trained during a pandemic. I prepared for these Olympics after giving birth to our son. And all this while questions hung over the continuation of the Games. This event means more to us – and dozens of other Team USA competitors – than many will ever appreciate.
SEE MORE: The Meyers Taylor family balances parenthood and elite bobsledding
Meyers Taylor acknowledged that people told American Olympians to boycott the Games because of the host country. They urged viewers not to watch and criticized companies that sponsor Olympic athletes.
“I understand people want us and our supporters to talk about the host city decision,” she wrote. “But the sponsors and the athletes did not choose Beijing. None of us play a role in the organization of the Games; none of us are the right object of anger about this.
It will probably be his last Olympic Games. This may be the crowning glory of the Games for one of the most popular athletes on the US Olympic team, who has recruited many people into the sport of bobsledding and uses her social media to uplift athletes in other sports.
Meyers Taylor is a worthy candidate to carry the American flag at the opening ceremony next Friday. Ten days later, she is perhaps the favorite to win the first Olympic women’s monobob competition and claim a first gold medal after two silvers and a bronze.
“In their criticism of Team USA athletes and our supporters, media and political figures underestimate our sweat and effort and undermine the unifying spirit of the Olympics,” she wrote.
SEE MORE: Winterberg: Meyers Taylor wins Monobob World Series gold