With the winter Olympics just a few weeks away, athletes from around the world are gearing up to compete in Sochi.
That includes Elana Meyers, SPHHS BS ’06, GWSB MTA ’11, a member of the US Women’s Bobsled National Team, who snagged two victories in December at the International Bobsled & Skeleton Federation’s 2013 World Cup.
Meyers is no stranger to competition or the Olympics; the former GW softball player brought home a bronze medal in the last winter Olympics. On Jan. 20, she was officially named to the 2014 US Olympic bobsled team.
“This time,” she says, “I’m definitely looking to go for gold.”
So how does a one-time softball hopeful go to Olympic bobsledding medalist? The Olympics were always Meyers’ dream, but softball was dropped from the Olympics before she had a chance to compete. Never one to give up easily, Meyers switched her focus.
“I knew it was worth a try to relive my Olympic dream,” Meyers explains. “I fell in love with the feeling of being in my sled. That feeling—every time, I have butterflies.”
Sportsmanship runs in Meyers’ blood; her father was a professional football player. So it’s no surprise that she contributed to the growth of the women’s softball team during her time at GW.
“Being there from the beginning of that program, I learned so much about team dynamics and team culture—it really influenced me as an athlete,” she says. “I was also involved in clubs and groups, and those leadership roles helped me on the ice. I can’t credit GW enough for the things I’ve learned.”
Meyers has taken these lessons with her on the path to the Olympics. Though it’s difficult to be away from her family for months at a time, Meyers is excited to see what happens when she hits the ice in Sochi. But ultimately, it’s not about a medal.
“[A medal] is not going to determine if I’m satisfied. The steps I’m taking every day as I train and prepare—if I know that I’ve put everything I had into my races and my preparation, I’m going to feel that I’ve done my country proud.”
Meyers is also excited about the future of athletics at GW. “I’ve been so impressed by the strides the athletics department has made—it’s a really proud time to be a GW athletic alumna. It’s so inspiring to see the investment the university has made in its athletes and programs. Patrick Nero (GW’s director of athletics and recreation) is awesome. I can’t wait to be more involved with GW after the Olympics are over.”
For those wondering if Meyers has advice for Olympic hopefuls, the answer is simple: “Surround yourself with positive people and positive things will happen. I have a great team and a great support staff – that’s huge for anyone who wants to achieve any goal.”