Meyers Taylor, Humphries race against men
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — American Elana Meyers Taylor and Canada’s Kaillie Humphries became the first women to race in a four-person event in World Cup bobsled history Saturday.
Humphries finished 15th with a two-run time of 1 minute, 48.87 seconds, and Meyers Taylor, from Douglasville, Georgia, was 16th out of the 17 finishers in 1:49.52. The International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation declared the four-person discipline gender neutral this fall.
“Everyone was so excited to see us race today and it really helped me realize the significance of the moment,” Meyers Taylor said. “There were some little girls at the track that were excited to watch women’s bobsled today, and hopefully what Kaillie and I are doing inspires them.
“I hope someday a woman racing in four-man isn’t news. I’m willing to do anything it takes to advance our sport, even if it means racing twice in a day.”
Meyers Taylor teamed with Justin Greenwood of Palmyra, Virginia; Carlo Valdes of Newport Beach, California; and Adrian Adams of Reidsville, North Carolina, in the Classroom Champions sled.
Humphries teamed with Dan Dale, D.J. McLelland and Joey Nemet.
″(Elana) and I really want to try and get more women driving the four-man and eventually have women’s four-man as its own event, so the women can have two events, two and four, and so can the men,” Humphries said. “In the meantime, this kind of bridges the gap a little bit.”
Meyers Taylor and Humphries are the first women to race with the men since the World Cup bobsled circuit was created in 1984. However, they aren’t the first to compete with the men. Katharin Dewey was a pioneer of women’s bobsledding and piloted her team to a historic victory in the 1940 U.S. Championships when mixed teams were allowed. Women were later banned.
“Katharin is such an inspiration to me for what she did in her day,” Meyers Taylor said. “It’s pretty cool to be following her lead, and all of the women that have come before me have really set the standard. I know how much drivers like Shauna Rohbock wanted this opportunity, so the least I can do is hop in a sled and take some trips.”
Latvia’s Oskars Melbardis won in 1:47.84. He topped the two-man event Saturday night.
U.S. star Steven Holcomb was seventh in 1:48.29.
Earlier, Meyers Taylor teamed with Cherrelle Garrett of Hayward, California, to win the women’s race, finishing in 1:51.7. They also won last week in the season-opening event in Lake Placid, New York.
“It definitely feels good to get another win, especially when it’s not on home ice,” Meyers Taylor said. “It’s a big testament to how hard Cherrelle has worked this season, and we’re really starting to gel and click. Our push times give me the ability to make some mistakes down the track, so I have her to thank for this win.”
Germany’s Anja Schneiderheinze and Franziska Bertels were second in 1:52.21, and Canada’s Humphries and Kate O’Brien followed in 1:52.65.
Jazmine Fenlator of Wayne, New Jersey, and Natalie DeRatt of Asheville, North Carolina, tied for fourth with Greubel Poser of Newtown, Pennsylvania and Lauren Gibbs of Denver.