(BPT) - Elana Meyers’ dream of winning an Olympic medal began at a young age. Growing up in Georgia, she participated in a myriad of sports to feed her desire for competition, including basketball, competitive dance, soccer, track and softball. Today, the 29-year-old Meyers is ready to lay everything on the line in pursuit of her dream as the pilot of the U.S. women’s bobsled team.
After joining the sport only seven years ago, Meyers is headed to compete for Team USA at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
The 2010 Olympic bronze medalist took a moment to reflect on her career and future aspirations following her silver medal finish at the World Cup competition in Lake Placid, N.Y., last December.
You had intentions to compete on the U.S. softball team in the 2012 Olympic Games. Did you always have ambitions to become an Olympian?
EM: Since the age of nine, I had a dream to compete in the Olympics. My dad played in the National Football League, and my sisters and I were always involved in sports, so my family always supported my athletic dreams. I originally had aspirations to compete on the U.S. softball team during the 2012 Olympic Games, but softball was removed from the roster before I had the chance to compete.
Now you’re competing in bobsledding, which is quite the switch. What inspired you to give the sport a shot?
EM: One evening, my parents were watching bobsledding on TV and suggested I try the sport, but I honestly wasn’t overly interested. Softball was my main focus. Later, when softball was cut, I contacted Todd Hays [U.S. women’s bobsled coach] on a whim, and he invited me to the training center in Lake Placid. I haven’t left since. Bobsledding is exciting and addicting. I feel like a kid every day I’m on the track.
You hold a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and a master’s degree in sports management from George Washington University. You’re now studying to obtain an MBA from DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management. How have you been able to pursue your academic and athletic pursuits simultaneously?
EM: I have always been a student athlete, so I am comfortable focusing on school and my future career alongside training full time. I am learning a great deal from Keller, and feel like I’m rounding out and enhancing my prior studies. After I retire from competing, I want to leverage both my business training and athletic experiences to help future Olympic athletes. My dream job would be to become the CEO of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). I hope my studies in finance, economics and management will help me get there one day.
When you’re not on the track, what do you like to do to unwind or to have fun?
EM: I am an avid reader, and I’m currently learning Russian ahead of traveling to Sochi. I’m also getting married in April 2014 to Nic Taylor, who used to be on the men’s U.S. bobsled team and trained with me in Lake Placid. He proposed during the medal ceremony at the World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland when I was on the podium. It was so special and so fitting for us.
What advice do you have for young athletes who have their eyes set on competing in the Olympic Games?
EM: This is what I say to any aspiring Olympian who I have the opportunity to meet – “as long as you believe in yourself and put your mind to it, you can achieve it.” All athletes have emotional and physical ups and downs, but it’s important to stay focused. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve your dream.
DeVry University is an official education provider of the United States Olympic Committee. To learn more about Meyers or other Team USA student athletes who are training to compete in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, visit newsroom.devry.edu.