The night time that U.S. boblsedder Elana Meyers Taylor gained her second Olympic silver medal, she walked round afterward, talking with reporters, with out sporting sneakers.
The medal round her neck signified her victory, however the chilly floor in opposition to her ft was its personal reduction.
As Taylor, 33, later defined, she had raced within the girls’s bobsled occasion on the 2018 Winter Olympics whereas coping with a “small tear” in her left achilles tendon that she sustained simply days earlier than touring to South Korea for the Video games.
It doesn’t sound dangerous the way in which she describes it, till you ask her the type of harm she was feeling in the course of the competitors and after.
Taylor tells PEOPLE that on Wednesday night time, when she earned silver with teammate Lauren Gibbs, the harm had gotten “fairly painful.” It obtained worse over the course of the two-day, four-race occasion, she says.
“On a scale from one to 10, it was most likely about an eight once I ended the race,” she says. Throughout a sit-down interview on Friday on the Procter & Gamble Household Dwelling (she is sponsored by Pantene), she says the ache is a few six.
Taylor, a local of the Atlanta space, gained a silver medal in bobsled on the 2014 Winter Video games together with Lauryn Williams and an Olympic bronze 4 years earlier than that with Erin Pac. She says she broken her achilles throughout coaching in late January in Chula Vista, California, every week earlier than arriving in Korea for the Olympics on Feb. 2.
“I actually didn’t assume it could be as dangerous because it was, after which we have been treating it and it simply wasn’t getting higher after which we had coaching runs and I used to be like, ‘I can’t push [the sled],’ ” Taylor says. “We tried the primary coaching run to push, and I used to be like, ‘I can’t do that … I can’t sit within the sled.’ And I delight myself in a fairly excessive ache tolerance and it was simply too dangerous.”
How did she push by way of? She had loads of help and, alongside along with her coaches and the medical workers, she adjusted to a brand new routine that also allowed her to coach and compete with out overdoing it.
“We needed to change our schedule. I needed to change the coach I usually stroll with,” Taylor says. “We needed to adapt every part and folks have been so prepared to assist me do no matter I wanted to do. It was fairly cool.
Her perspective helped, too.
“I’m the one that’s all in, gonna go full-throttle at one thing,” she says. “I don’t know in the event you could be a bobsledder and never have that kind of perspective — so yeah, I simply went for it.”
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Her physician assured her beforehand that the dangers of a extra extreme harm, although current, have been minimal.
“I used to be like, ‘Okay, so it’s gonna be painful, however we simply gotta go after it anyhow,’ ” she recollects. “I made that call and I knew it moving into it was gonna harm, however on the finish of the day I used to be gonna placed on a present and we did.”
In distinction to her Olympic silver in Sochi, Russia, in 2014, Taylor says this second-place end looks like a win.
“In Sochi I actually felt like I used to be going on the market and it was all about successful a gold medal, and in order that final warmth the place it slipped away, I used to be driving to not lose … and I wasn’t pleased with my efficiency,” she says. “Right here, I threw down and I went toe-to-toe with the German who gained and I actually assume it was an important efficiency and I cherished each minute of it.”
She continues: “Particularly with the obstacles we needed to overcome to get right here, the dying of my teammate Steve Holcomb and arriving in a wheelchair with my achilles harm, it’s unimaginable to stroll away with any medal.”
There are extra years to come back, as Taylor says, “I haven’t even touched the floor as the place I may be” as a bobsled pilot.
For now, although, she and husband Nic Taylor, a fellow bobsledder, are planning a trip. She’d additionally like to start out a household on this subsequent Olympic cycle. “I’m gonna let my physique heal and recuperate and determine what we wish to do from there,” she says.
After that will probably be again to the observe for Taylor, one of many few outstanding girls of colour competing in winter sports activities and one in all bobsled’s most seen U.S. athletes, who has been famous for her recruiting efforts.
“I really feel a duty to unfold my expertise and unfold the expansion of sport [and] additionally to advertise variety within the winter Olympics, a world that historically appears white, ?” she says, including, “If one little lady who appears like me picks up a winter sport as a result of she sees me, that’s all anyone might ever ask for.”