It's a first: women race against men in bobsleds
Elana Meyers Taylor of the United States and Kaillie Humphries of Canada have become the first women to race in a four-person bobsled event in the World Cup. The race was held in Calgary, Canada.
Humphries finished 15th with a two-run time of 1 minute, 48.87 seconds, and Meyers Taylor, from Douglasville, Georgia, was 16th out of the 17 finishers in 1:49.52. In the fall, the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation declared the four-person sled race as gender neutral so men and women could compete against each other.
"Everyone was so excited to see us race today and it really helped me realize the significance of the moment," Meyers Taylor said. "There were some little girls at the track that were excited to watch women's bobsled today, and hopefully what Kaillie and I are doing inspires them.
"I hope someday a woman racing in four-man isn't news (and) I'm willing to do anything it takes to advance our sport, even if it means racing twice in a day."
Meyers Taylor teamed with Justin Greenwood of Palmyra, Virginia; Carlo Valdes of Newport Beach, California; and Adrian Adams of Reidsville, North Carolina, in the Classroom Champions sled.
Humphries teamed with Dan Dale, D.J. McLelland and Joey Nemet.
"(Elana) and I really want to try and get more women driving the four-man and eventually have women's four-man as its own event, so the women can have two events, two and four, and so can the men," Humphries said. "In the meantime, this kind of bridges the gap a little bit."
Meyers Taylor and Humphries are the first women to race with the men since the World Cup bobsled circuit was created in 1984, but they aren't the first to compete with the men. Katharin Dewey was a pioneer of women's bobsledding and piloted her team to a historic victory in the 1940 U.S. Championships when mixed teams were allowed. Women were later banned.
Earlier, Meyers Taylor teamed with Cherrelle Garrett of Hayward, California, to win the women's race, finishing in 1:51.7. They also won the week before in the season-opening event in Lake Placid, New York.
"It definitely feels good to get another win, especially when it's not on home ice," Meyers Taylor said. "It's a big testament to how hard Cherrelle has worked this season, and we're really starting to gel and click. Our push times give me the ability to make some mistakes down the track, so I have her to thank for this win."
Critical thinking challenge: When will woman racing in four-man bobsled no longer be newsworthy?