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Elana Meyers Taylor elected Team USA Olympic closing ceremony flag bearer


(BEIJING) — After missing the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony due to a positive COVID test, bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor will have her chance to wave the American flag at the closing ceremony on Sunday.

The four-time Olympian was elected by her peers on Team USA to be the closing ceremony flag bearer in Beijing, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee announced Friday.

She had been elected to be the opening ceremony flag bearer, alongside curler John Shuster, but was unable to participate in the ceremony because she tested positive for COVID shortly after arriving in Beijing and went into isolation. Instead, speedskater Brittany Bowe, who earned the second-highest votes among female athletes, served as flag bearer alongside Shuster.

“I was so honored to be named the Opening Ceremony flag bearer, but after not being able to carry the flag, it’s even more humbling to lead the United States at the Closing Ceremony,” Meyers Taylor said in a statement. “Congratulations to my fellow Team USA athletes on all their success in Beijing – I’m looking forward to carrying the flag with my teammates by my side and closing out these Games.”

Now, Meyers Taylor will have her chance to represent the United States — and this time around, she has some new metal to wear.

Earlier this week, she competed in the first Olympic monobob event, wherein athletes compete by themselves, pushing, driving and breaking a bobsled as a team of one.

Americans dominated in that event, with Kallie Humphries winning gold and Meyers Taylor winning silver. Humphries was competing for the United States in the Olympics for the first time after winning two golds for Canada in the two-person bobsled, so as former rivals, this time she and Meyers Taylor could celebrate together.

That silver adds to Meyers Taylor’s stack of Olympic medals, including a silver from 2018, a silver from 2014 and a bronze from 2010, all in the two-woman competition. She has the opportunity to add one more to that list in the two-woman event in Beijing, which concludes Saturday.

This Olympics has been more dramatic than most as Meyers Taylor had to spend about a week in isolation, which she called “rough.” She had traveled to Beijing along with her husband and young son, who is still nursing, and had to separate from them to isolate.

In order to compete, she had to test negative two times and she managed to do so before the monobob event began but competed without as many practices as other athletes.

“No words … only gratitude,” she wrote on Instagram after taking the monobob silver.

In addition to her athleticism, Meyers Taylor has been recognized for her efforts off the ice. Her son, Nico, has Down syndrome, and she has been an advocate for families of children with special needs, as well as one of the many athletes who continued competing after becoming mothers.

“I knew I wanted to continue and show that it’s possible to overcome any adversity and continue pursuing your goals,” she previously told Good Morning America about the inspiration she gained after giving birth.

Meyers Taylor, who is biracial, has also been an advocate for Black athletes in winter sports.

“My job now, just like any parent, is to ensure my son has a better life than I do,” she wrote in a 2020 piece for Team USA. “Part of that is to do what I can to make a change, such that hopefully he is never judged by the color of his skin. That’s a lofty goal, but an important one to never give up on.”

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