Bobsledding ‘Team Taylor’ Heading to Winter Olympic Games with Faith in Tow
Elana and Nic Taylor Share How God Brought Them Together for His Glory in Fellowship of Christian Athletes Magazine
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—The handful of outstanding athletes who have the opportunity to compete at the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang is an extremely select number.
Even fewer of these athletes get to experience the Olympics with their spouse. But that’s exactly the case for champion bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor and her husband, world-class athlete and trainer, Nic Taylor.
The Taylors will be taking much more than their hopes and dreams with them to South Korea. They’re taking their faith in Christ as well.
Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) Magazine profiles the Taylors in the most recent January/February 2018 issue, which features several Olympic-caliber athletes who share about their faith journeys in advance of some of the biggest sports moments of their lives.
“It’s been amazing to help tell the stories of Olympic athletes in the most recent FCA Magazine,” said FCA Magazine Editor Clay Meyer. “When the world’s best athletes share that they are glorifying the Savior through their God-given talents, it gives every American—and Christian—a sense of pride, knowing we are all part of the same family of God.”
FCA’s story titled “Taylor-Made” details how Elana and Nic first met at the U.S. Olympic Training Center after a God-directed phone call to the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation. Two years later, the engaged couple was baptized together in Lake Placid on a chilly day in October 2013, when fellow members of the U.S. Bobsled Team joined them to celebrate. It was important to Elana and Nic to invite as many teammates as they could—some who were Christians and others who were not. They were married six months later in April 2014.
Elana, 33, is a two-time Olympian in two-man women’s bobsleigh. Winning the bronze medal as a brakeman in 2010 and the silver medal as the pilot in 2014, she became the first American—male or female—to medal in both positions. Nic, a 30-year-old push athlete, is a member of Team USA’s four-man bobsled team. He has won the America’s Cup event twice and won a bronze medal during the 2012-13 World Cup season. Both are African-Americans in a sport that doesn’t have many minorities. Above all, both are Christians.
“We know God is using our time here for a purpose,” Elana said of training and competing alongside her husband. “It’s exciting to be able to go through this and think about what stories we’ll share with our (future) kids later, and what will come of all of this.”
Growing up in Georgia, Elana Meyers, the daughter of Edward Meyers, a former running back for the Atlanta Falcons, excelled at just about everything in high school—good grades, the editor of the school newspaper, basketball, softball, soccer, and track and field standout. She says she attended church as a child on the “significant dates”—Easter, Christmas and the Sunday nearest her Oct. 10 birthday. Struggles with depression and an eating disorder early in college brought her to a closer relationship with God.
“Christ spoke to me and told me I didn’t have to have control of everything, and He would take control of me,” she said. “Ever since then, I’ve walked this journey with Him.”
Over time, Elana overcame her struggles. She attended FCA events and participated in a life-transforming Bible study through Athletes in Action. After college, and after failing to make the elite U.S. Softball Team, Elana began her bobsled career in 2007, making the national team in her rookie season. Along the way, she remained involved with a Monday night Bible study at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, as well as with the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation.
Nic Taylor went to church a few times during his childhood. But it took surviving three separate car accidents during a three-month stretch in the summer of 2005 for him to finally surrender his life to Jesus.
“It shouldn’t have taken three, but it took three for me to realize I’m not in control of my life,” Nic said of experiencing God’s grace. “There’s nothing I could have done to have walked away from three completely totaled cars. It was all God’s doing. He had been there with me the entire time.”
Growing up in California, Nic was involved in taekwondo, football, wrestling and track. His childhood goal was to become an Olympic sprinter, and he was well on his way before tearing his hamstring while trying to qualify for the Olympic trials in 2010. Nic’s career shifted as he watched one of his former track teammates compete in the four-man bobsled for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Nic called the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation in the fall of 2011 to start the paperwork for his new career path. Elana Meyers answered the phone. A conversation that should have lasted a few minutes went on for hours. A few weeks later, Nic moved to New York to begin training, and the two began dating.
Besides forging a new relationship, Nic and Elana spent hours training together. By 2013, in his second season, Nic had solidified himself as an improving push athlete who could compete at the international level.
“Being able to do it with your best friend—who happens to be your wife—is awesome,” Nic said. “It makes the road a lot easier. Things aren’t nearly as hard as they could be if I was on this path alone.”
Meanwhile, Elana established herself as the best American bobsled pilot in 2013 and also enjoyed seeing the sport from a new perspective by teaching Nic.
“It’s really shaped our relationship and really taught us a lot about each other,” Elana said. “We’ve seen each other at our lowest, but we’ve also seen each other at our highest.”
Read the rest of FCA’s “Taylor-Made” story here.
In PyeongChang, Elana will team up with Lauren Gibbs as medal favorites for the two-man women’s bobsled. The women’s team begins competition with official training heats on Feb. 17.
On the men’s side, the U.S. is one of three nations to qualify three sleds in both two-man and four-man bobsled. Codie Bascue, Nick Cunningham—Nic’s former track teammate—and Justin Olsen were selected to pilot the three Team USA sleds. Nine push athletes are also part of the team, which also includes Nic Taylor and Jimmy Reed, who will travel with the team as alternates. They can substitute for competing athletes during training runs and are eligible to compete in the event of an injury or illness. The men’s team begins competition with two-man official training heats on Feb. 15.
Read more about Fellowship of Christian Athletes here, visit FCA’s web site at www.fca.org, its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fcafans or its Twitter feed @fcanews.