Elana Meyers Taylor
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Elana Meyers Taylor’s claims of racism in bobsled being investigated

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Bobsled’s international federation is investigating triple Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor‘s claims of racism in the sport.

Meyers Taylor, a medalist for the U.S. at the last three Winter Olympics, wrote in a first-person TeamUSA.org story that a coach from another country “was recorded saying several racist statements” and that her name “was drug through the mud.”

“The basic premise was that there were no good black drivers and that black athletes needed to stay in the back of the sled as they simply lacked the mental capacity to drive,” wrote Meyers Taylor, a brakewoman at her first Olympics and a driver at the last two. “Furthermore, the coach felt the need to specifically bring up my name several times, and this after I had won an Olympic medal and two world championships as a pilot, and even earned a spot on the US Men’s team as a 4-man pilot.”

The coach no longer works for that federation and, Meyers Taylor believes, hasn’t been rehired elsewhere in the sport. She did not name the coach or the federation. She stood by her statements in a Tuesday phone interview.

Meyers Taylor also wrote that a manufacturer of one of the fastest sleds on tour “refuses to sell to black pilots” and has been quoted saying, “If I wanted to see a monkey drive a sled, I’d go to the zoo.”

“It doesn’t matter how fast he’s able to make a sled, I’d give up a gold medal before driving a sled made by him,” Meyers Taylor wrote. “And yet there currently sits one of these sleds in the Team USA garage, serving as a constant reminder to me where people who look like me stand in this sport.”

A USA Bobsled and Skeleton (USABS) spokesperson confirmed the sled is in a Team USA garage and owned by an athlete, not the federation.

“We spoke with Elana about the situation, and she does not recommend that we remove the sled from the garage,” the spokesperson said. “The athlete who owns the sled was not aware of the alleged situation with the manufacturer, and its presence does not have ill intentions.

“I also want to reiterate that USABS condemns all forms of racism and discrimination, and we take this very seriously.”

The International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) said it made immediate contact with Meyers Taylor and created a task force to investigate.

Meyers Taylor confirmed that the U.S. and international bobsled federations communicated with her. She is satisfied that both are taking her concerns seriously, noting the task force is a great first step. She is pushing the IBSF to create programs that allow minority athletes opportunities for success without obstacles.

“The biggest thing is to really look at the sport of bobsled, and all sports, and try and analyze where is racism and where it can be improved to prevent people with racist ideas and racial biases from having as much power as they do,” she said. “Racism occurs to all different types of people. Sport isn’t immune.”

Meyers Taylor, who sat out last season due to pregnancy, plans to compete next season, bringing 4-month-old son Nico with her on tour.

MORE: U.S. Olympic bobsledder dies at 43

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World Alpine Skiing Championships on for 2021 after request to delay rejected

Alpine Skiing World Championships
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GENEVA (AP) — A request by the organizers of next year’s skiing world championships in Italy to postpone the event by one year was rejected Thursday by the International Ski Federation.

FIS ruled that the event will go ahead from Feb. 9-21, 2021, in Cortina d’Ampezzo — the highlight of an Alpine season that faces challenges to find safe protocols for international travel and attending races in Europe, North America and China.

The Veneto region of northern Italy was hit hard by the coronavirus and the season-ending World Cup races in Cortina in mid-March were canceled. That week-long event was to be a test for the 2021 worlds.

“The last month of efforts to come to this solution demonstrates the strong collaborative spirit of the ski family and stakeholders.” FIS president Gian-Franco Kasper said.

Organizers in Italy have said they expect losses of about 30 million euros ($34 million) if the worlds are also canceled. They asked for a postponement to March 2022, which would be only weeks after the Beijing Olympics.

“But we will be ready in any case and we will show that these world championships can change the history of a region despite the current difficulties,” Alessandro Benetton, president of the Cortina organizing committee, said in a statement.

Italian racer Sofia Goggia, the 2018 Olympic downhill champion, said she was “happy for Cortina because it will host the first major international event after the coronavirus epidemic.”

Cortina, which hosted the 1956 Olympics, will co-host the 2026 Winter Games with Milan and use the worlds as a showcase for the resort.

The women’s World Cup downhill on the Olympia delle Tofane course each January is one of the most scenic in the sport with a signature jump between tall outcrops of jagged rock.

The Dolomites venue was awarded the 2021 worlds by FIS after missing out as a candidate four straight times from 2013-19.

MORE: Anna Veith retires, leaves Austrian Alpine skiing in unfamiliar territory

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Russia track and field athlete clearance frozen due to unpaid fine

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MONACO (AP) — The program allowing Russian track athletes to compete internationally will be frozen because the country’s federation failed to pay a fine on time, World Athletics said Thursday.

The Russian track federation, known as RusAF, owes a $5 million fine and another $1.31 million in costs for various doping-related work and legal wrangles. World Athletics said RusAF missed Wednesday’s deadline to pay.

World Athletics said it would freeze the work of the Doping Review Board, which vets Russian athletes who want the “authorized neutral athlete” status that allows them to compete internationally, and its taskforce monitoring RusAF’s anti-doping reforms.

World Athletics said both bodies will be “put on hold” until its council meets to discuss the situation at the end of July.

“RusAF is letting its athletes down badly,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said in a statement. “We have done as much as we can to expedite our ANA process and support RusAF with its reinstatement plan, but seemingly to no avail.”

RusAF president Yevgeny Yurchenko earlier told the Tass state news agency that his federation’s finances were damaged by the coronavirus pandemic and that it had asked for more time to pay.

World Athletics’ statement didn’t directly address that issue, but said Russia hadn’t indicated when it would pay.

Russia was fined $10 million by World Athletics in March, with $5 million suspended for two years, after the federation admitted to breaking anti-doping rules and obstructing an investigation.

The Athletics Integrity Unit said fake documents were used under the previous management to give an athlete an alibi for missing a doping test.

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