US, Canada women's bobsled stars eager to race men Canada's Kaillie Humphries reacts in front of teammate Chelsea Valois in the finish area after the two-women bob race at the Bob World Cup in Koenigssee, Germany, in 2013 (AP photos)
US, Canada women's bobsled stars eager to race men
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Elana Meyers Taylor has long wanted a chance to jump in a bobsled and compete against men on an icy track.

That time might have arrived.

So Meyers Taylor was thrilled with the announcement that bobsled's governing body will consider the 4-man event gender neutral. It's a major victory for top women's pilots such as Taylor and Canada's Kaillie Humphries.

"I am ecstatic about the opportunity to drive a 4-man," said Meyers Taylor. She is a 2-time women's bobsled Olympic medalist from Douglasville, Georgia. "Personally, I'm excited for a new challenge as an athlete and a bobsled pilot. This goes a long way to ensure more gender equality in our sport, which is very refreshing . . . I'm ready to go for it."

The rule change will likely only impact pilot choices. That's because it's believed most teams would still use three male push athletes with a female driver.

Humphries is the 2-time Olympic champion in women's bobsled, which uses a 2-person sled . She has been one of the most vocal about her desire to have the chance at getting behind the controls of a 4-man sled. For some time, she has has pushed for the rule change.

"Woke up to a whole new world," Humphries wrote on Twitter early Thursday.

The notion has been floated by some women's pilots for years. With a new season looming, talk had picked up again among supporters of the rule change.

Sliders from the U.S. and Canada seemed to be among the biggest supporters of allowing women to race with men.

"I think there's some fear that it changes the 4-man. I don't think that's realistic," U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation leader Darrin Steele said. "My point of view: If a woman is good enough to jump in a 4-man and compete with the guys, more power to her. I think those that have the ability are going to be few in number. But if they've got the ability and want to do it, then why get in the way?"

Humphries and Heather Moyse won the women's gold at the Sochi Games. They were followed by a pair of American sleds Meyers Taylor with Lauryn Williams, and Jamie Greubel with pusher Aja Evans.

A 2-man bobsled handles much differently than a 4-man does. The 2010 Olympic champion, Steven Holcomb of Park City, Utah, has likened driving a 2-man to a sports car. He says a 4-man is more like driving a school bus.

Steele said he has concerns that some may underestimate the difficulty of driving a 4-man sled. But he has no doubt some women can be competitive.

The World Cup season opens at Lake Placid, New York, in December. It's possible that women may be in 4-man sleds for that race. Women's pilots would still have to show proficiency, just as male pilots would, in a 4-man. That must come before they can be entered into a World Cup competition in that type of sled.

There are some lower-tier races in North America and Europe before the World Cup opener. Those events could give women enough time to qualify to drive 4-man in Lake Placid.

"This will create some excitement," Steele said.

Critical thinking challenge: Why might most teams still use three males to push with a female driver?

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COMMENTS (26)
  • conord5
    9/30/2014 - 01:08 p.m.

    She is on a bobsled's team. She is a 2-time women's bobsled Olympic medalist from Douglasville, Georgia. She was teams would still use three male push athletes with a female driver.

  • Cs2001Tardis
    9/30/2014 - 01:09 p.m.

    Most teams might still use three males to push and a female driver because the males are going to be used to pushing the bobsled and running with it. I think at it is a good victory for girls in the sport to be doing this.

    • 21ljcava
      10/02/2014 - 11:57 a.m.

      I hope she beets the boys because the boys are really good and i don't know if the girls are so you go girl!!!!

    • 21ljcava
      10/02/2014 - 11:58 a.m.

      I hope she beets the boys because the boys are really good and i don't know if the girls are so I wish the best of luck

  • ld117-Sch
    9/30/2014 - 07:46 p.m.

    In response to "US, Canada women's bobsled stars eager to race men," I agree that women should race men. One reason I agree is that if women can't race it would be really unfair to women. Another reason is that the women's team has trained really hard for this and deserve it. It says in the article that the bobsled league said that if women want to do it then let them. A third reason is that the women's team has a really good shot in winning it and will create suspense and more viewers will watch. Even though people think women should not bobsled with men, I think they should.

  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    9/30/2014 - 09:54 p.m.

    I think women should be able to participate in a 4-man sled along with men because it can show equality between men and women's rights. Also, women can show that they are just as competitive as men so I think they should be allowed to participate in the event. But, I also think that the teams should be evened out as in 2 women and 2 men so that the balance in strength, could be evened out.
    Critical Thinking Challenge: Why might most teams still use 3 males to push with a female driver?
    Answer: Most teams might still use 3 males with a female driver because the female is weaker than the males so the males do not want the bobsled to go slower.

  • HannahH-1
    10/01/2014 - 12:57 a.m.

    Elana Meyers Taylor along with many other women in the Olympic sport of bobsledding have been waiting for the opportunity to compete against men. The announcement that the bobsled's governing body will consider the gender for the 4 man event neutral excited many. It is thought that this new rule will only have an impact on pilot choices because it is believed that many teams will stick to having 3 male push athletes. Sliders from the United States and Canada have been the most vocal about their wishes to race with men. Many male athletes in the sport of bobsledding are concerned that many of the females underestimate the difficulty of driving a 4-man bobsled. However, they have no doubt that some women can be competitive. I believe that it is important that women are given the same privileges as men and the same opportunities to be competitive.

  • khaarlis
    10/01/2014 - 10:32 a.m.

    a U.S and canad women fight for the ability to be in the 4 man bob slead team. many people agree with the women sens man have more power. but at the same time girls are lighter then man.so the true questoin is sextism or not

  • khaarlis
    10/01/2014 - 10:32 a.m.

    a U.S and canad women fight for the ability to be in the 4 man bob slead team. many people agree with the women sens man have more power. but at the same time girls are lighter then man.so the true questoin is sextism or not

  • geskaylee
    10/01/2014 - 11:58 a.m.

    Women are great. They can do anything if they believe in themselves. Women are brave and unstopable. They are always doing something they stay busy. They stay busy doing fun things like the women in this passage or they are helping other people.

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