NEW YORK — Elana Meyers and Nic Taylor met through bobsled in 2011 and began dating. Taylor proposed to Meyers at the medal podium of the 2013 World Championships. Their wedding last week didn’t pass without references to the sport, either.
“When they gave their personal vows, a lot of the audience probably didn’t understand,” said Olympic teammate Jazmine Fenlator, one of about 75 people at the Douglasville, Ga., gathering Thursday. “It was a lot of bobsled and training innuendos. You know, I’ll stand with you whenever you’re gluten-free and dairy-free, which is the nutrition plan when we’re in season.”
Fenlator remembered them saying at the end, “Now let’s go have some fun,” and gave each other high-fives, just as Meyers does at the start line with her brakemen before her bobsled heats.
Meyers, a two-time Olympic medalist, and Taylor, a former U.S. Bobsled athlete, began life as a married couple by traveling to Washington and then New York. First, Meyers had her college softball No. 24 jersey retired by George Washington on Sunday. They flew to New York for Right To Play’s Big Red Ball on Wall Street on Tuesday night.
“The whole goal of the wedding was to get [Taylor] to cry,” Meyers said at the Right to Play gala. “He didn’t cry. He was too excited.”
“I was close the entire time, but I was so happy,” Taylor said. “It was the most fun I have ever had. Although I was a little choked up, never got around to crying, which I’m pretty excited about.”
Wedding guests included current and retired bobsledders Kaillie Humphries and Shelley-Ann Brown of Canada and former Night Train member Steve Mesler in addition to Fenlator.
Humphries is the two-time reigning Olympic champion and Meyers’ chief competition. Humphries beat Meyers by one point for the World Cup title last season and then overtook Meyers on the fourth and final run in Sochi for gold.
Yet they remain friends and training partners and kept their pre-Olympic pact to see each other again at Meyers’ wedding. Meyers joked about people marveling at Humphries at the ceremony last week.
“Everybody was like, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s a gold medalist,'” she said, smiling. “I was like, what am I, chopped liver at my own wedding? We’re great friends. It was awesome to have her there and awesome to feed her some cake.”
One of their favorite gifts came from Meyers’ Olympic brakewoman, Lauryn Williams, who could not make it to the wedding because she was in Rome (Italy, not Georgia).
“She sent us the most amazing blender in the world,” Taylor said.
Though Williams has said her competitive career is all but done, Meyers still hopes to convince her to come back next season.
“I think I can get one more year out of her,” Meyers said. “I think another four is a stretch, but I’m going to try everything I can.”
Meyers and Taylor’s first dance was to Justin Timberlake‘s “That Girl.” Taylor walked out to John Legend‘s “All of Me.” Meyers walked out to Bruno Mars‘ “Marry You.”
They donated to charities for each other as wedding gifts. Meyers gave to the International Humane Society, part of a running joke between the couple about Taylor wanting to adopt Sochi stray dogs. Taylor gave to Right to Play.
What’s next for the married couple? Meyers trains and Taylor coaches at the World Athletics Center in Arizona. Meyers has been testing her skills in the new Olympic sport of rugby sevens. She was on the U.S. team that traveled to China earlier this month.
“It was an experience, to say the least,” Meyers said. “I’m definitely not used to that level of cardio. It was different because it was a whole different side of international sport that I’m not accustomed to. It was interesting to see into their world, see what they go through and see what it’s like on a team sports level.”
She hopes to be named to the team for a tournament in Amsterdam in May, but come next fall, bobsled will again be the focus. She’s not ruling out a bid for the 2016 Olympics, but the fact that the primary rugby season runs concurrent with bobsled in the winter doesn’t help.
“When we first started, it was like, oh yeah, we could do this in the Olympics, but I didn’t realize how much the seasons overlap,” Meyers said. “I thought rugby was a summer sport.”
Taylor and Meyers first interacted over a phone call in 2011, as told by USA Today in a story last year.
Taylor had been a track athlete at Cal State Northridge and a decathlon coach at UCLA when he decided to give bobsled a try in 2011. After he lost some paperwork, he called the sport’s national governing body with questions. Meyers, who was interning with the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, answered the phone.
“I ended up staying on the phone with her for the rest of the day. It was the strangest thing,” Taylor said. “I wasn’t sure what she looked like or who she was at all.”
He said he knew he wanted to marry Meyers “the first time I talked to her.” That level of excitement was apparent at the wedding.
“Nic’s face when Elana turned the corner to walk out,” Fenlator said. “He was so antsy. He kept going forward, and the priest is like, ‘Nic, hold on, her dad has to give her away. Just wait, one second.’ You could tell at the moment, he felt like, I’ve lived. This is it.”
Sochi getting hockey team in world’s second strongest league