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Start record leads to silver

News file photo — Lou Reuter Elana Meyers Taylor, pictured above in Lake Placid in 2017, captured her first medal in nearly two years, a silver, in St. Moritz on Sunday, Jan. 17.

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — Elana Meyers Taylor and Sylvia Hoffman, of Arlington, Texas, set a start record en route to a silver medal performance in women’s ing’s women’s bobsled World Cup racing on Sunday, Jan. 17.

Kaillie Humphries teamed with Lauren Gibbs of Los Angeles, for seventh place.

“I feel good about our start times and my runs,” Meyers Taylor said. “There are still some things I need to work on, but I’m happy with today’s finish.”

It’s been almost two years since Meyers Taylor has medaled in a World Cup race. She earned a silver medal in the February 2019 World Cup event in Calgary, Canada, which was her last World Cup before becoming pregnant with her son, Nico.

Meyers Taylor took the 2019-20 season off while expecting. Now, 11 months after giving birth to Nico, she’s back on the World Cup tour, and back in the medals. Nico and her husband, Nic Taylor, are on tour with Meyers Taylor.

“My teammates have been super helpful, and I can’t say enough about how much their support has helped me get back to the medals,” Meyers Taylor said. “Having that kind of camaraderie, especially this year coming back with a baby, is essential. It’s also really great having my husband here with me because he knows the sport and helps me like a brakeman can.”

Meyers Taylor and Hoffman were third off the start in the opening heat, which is a disadvantage on the all-natural track. The track speeds up throughout the day, making a later draw more desirable. The pair powered the BMW-branded sled off the block with the fastest start time of 5.44 seconds, and Meyers Taylor navigated the track to the finish in 1:08.56 for fourth position.

Meyers Taylor and Hoffman laid it all on the line in run two, breaking the start record in the second heat with a push time of 5.42 seconds. Meyers Taylor threaded together a nearly flawless run of 1:08.06 to temporarily hold the track record. Only one team, Germany’s Stephanie Schneider and Leonie Fiebig, could surpass the Americans. Meyers Taylor and Hoffman secured the silver medal with a combined time of 2:16.62, a mere 0.08 seconds from the Germans.

“I just want to do the best I can,” Hoffman said. “I’m going out there and doing my best, pushing as hard as I can and getting into the best riding position. I’m excited every day and I can’t wait to get to our next race to lay it all down again. Hopefully next time we’ll come away with gold.”

Schneider and Fiebig claimed gold in 2:16.54. Melanie Hasler and Irina Strebel from Switzerland fell back a spot into third with a combined time of 2:16.73. 

Humphries, who won her debut women’s monobob World Cup the day before, teamed with Gibbs for seventh place with a total time of 2:17.40. The 2020 World Champions combined forces for nearly identical start times of 5.53 and 5.54 seconds. Humphries piloted her Omaze-branded sled, nicknamed “Black Pearl,” to the finish in 1:08.76 and 1:08.64.