Georgians in the Olympics
Glued to the TV every night to watch snowboarding and ice skating? Checking the medal count every morning?
Olympic fever is strong these days as the games enter their second week of competition, and Douglasville is one Georgia city with a higher temp than most.
That’s because Douglasville native, Elana Meyers Taylor, is competing at the Pyeong Chang Games in women’s bobsled, with competition in her event set to begin on Feb. 20 in primetime on NBC.
Meyers Taylor is a two-time Olympic medalist competing in her third Olympic Games. She won a bronze medal in Vancouver in 2010 and a silver medal in Sochi in 2014. She hopes to complete her set with a gold medal from PyeongChang.
Meyers Taylor was raised in Douglasville, and her parents still reside there. Her husband, Nic Taylor, is an alternate on the U.S. men’s bobsled team.
The couple married in April 2014, and they support each other through the ups and downs that define the life of elite athletes. For one thing, the couple doesn’t really have a home because they’re always traveling. And while they’re on the road, preparing nutritious meals can sometimes be a challenge.
“When we’re at a hotel, usually the hotel provides food, but when we’re at Airbnb’s one of us has to do the cooking,” Meyers Taylor told TeamUSA.org. “He does most of it so I can focus on training, even though he’s training, too, and our food habits are different as well. I have to lose and he has to gain (weight), so he has to measure food and make sure I have the nutrients I need while he eats double what I need to eat and still loses weight.”
Recently, Taylor chose to drive six hours one way to pick up a new sled for Meyers Taylor, whose own sled had gotten held up in customs before the World Cup in Winterberg, Germany.
“It was pretty incredible of them to do that,” Meyers Taylor said. (You can read more of their story at TeamUSA.org.)
Chris Kinney, also a bobsledder, was born in Athens, Georgia, and considers Stockbridge his hometown. Kinney competed in track and field at Georgetown University and later worked in Japan, all the while trying to make it to the Summer Olympics. NBC’s Atlanta affiliate 11Alive.com reported that a conversation with Olympian Lolo Jones, a track and field Olympian who competed in bobsled at the Sochi Games, persuaded Kinney to try bobsled.
Kinney and his teammates in the four-man bobsled won gold and silver medals in pre-Olympic competitions in November 2017 and January 2018, and they are hoping to repeat that success at the Olympics. Competition in the four-man bobsled event is scheduled to begin Feb. 23.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 31 states sent Olympic competitors to the PyeongChang Games. Colorado sent the most with 31 athletes out of 244 — probably not surprising for the U.S. state with the most skiing establishments (40) and the largest number of coaches, umpires and professional athletes on a per capita basis — about 2,000 per million people of population.
Georgia’s two team members put the state at 26th on the list of 31 states with athletes competing in PyeongChang. But the Census Bureau notes that the nine largest states (California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, and North Carolina), which account for more than half of the total U.S. population, contributed only 30 percent of Olympians.
Regardless of how many Georgians are competing, the Olympic Games are an opportunity for our American pride to show. So we join all Americans in the chant — USA! USA! USA! — though we may cheer a little louder as we watch Elana, Nic and Chris!