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)
  • EmilyK-2
    10/01/2014 - 05:47 p.m.

    This article was about how two female bobsled stars who have always dreamed about competing with men, finally got their dream come true. Before now, bobsledding has always been a sport that was gender separated, but now they have changed the rules saying that the competition this year will be neutral. I think this is a really good step to take because this gives the possibility for anything, rather than just keeping it exclusive to just men or women. I agree with the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation leader, Darrin Steele, who basically said that if a women is good enough to make the team that is mostly men and will be competing against mostly men, then she should be able to compete with them.

  • KiraWvA-4
    10/01/2014 - 06:17 p.m.

    Elana Meyers Taylor is the driver of a two-man bobsled team, and an American Olympic medalist. She and another woman, the gold medalist Kaillie Humphries, are very pleased that the bobsled's leading body has announced that the four-man race is now gender-neutral, allowing women to race against men. This step is important to the advancement of gender equality in sports. The US Federation of Bobsled and Skeleton head remarked that there might not be many women who are willing or capable to compete, but if they are, they shouldn't be hindered. I think this article was an important step towards equality everywhere, and it is a powerful example of the advancement and development of man. The Olympics are a widely-known and commonly-aspired-to event, and so this might have an impact on sports worldwide.

  • benjaminsnyder
    10/01/2014 - 06:33 p.m.

    This article is related to science between the friction of the bobsled and the ice. This is why they have the blades, so the friction is less. This is how this article is related back to science.

  • ImanB-1
    10/02/2014 - 07:01 p.m.

    A woman named Elana Meyers Taylor, who is an Olympic medalist in Bobsledding, wants to compete not only with women, but also with men. She says that she wants more gender equality for this sport and she gets to use a 4-man bobsled. In December at Lake Placid, New York, The World Cup season will be open and she will be able to be a pilot along with 3 other men. I agree with Elana's idea, because to me gender equality is very important.

  • laurenrs-Cal
    10/03/2014 - 02:23 p.m.

    That is cool. I wish I could do this stuff. It is so cool and fun. I can not wait to watch it in a few years.

  • aspenw-Kie
    10/03/2014 - 03:16 p.m.

    Maybe because the boys are stronger and can push the sled and get it going. And the girls might be smarter and are more focused. But I am not saying girls are not as strong and boys are not as smart but the coaches might think that.

  • annasusan
    10/08/2014 - 12:57 p.m.

    Why most teams still use three males to push with a female driver is probably because men are known to be strong and they have to be to push that sled and get it going.

  • RMatthew-Cas
    10/11/2014 - 09:38 p.m.

    They might use male pushers because a man is stronger than a woman and also a woman is lighter and easier to push. Thr bob sled might go fast too.

  • CameronS-2
    10/13/2014 - 07:18 p.m.

    This article is about two olimpic bobsleigh rider that are raging to race agaist men .They do not care what gender they race agaist they just want to race against them all.This story i very inspiring to me and i hope it inspires everyone who has read this.

  • OJ2001Steelers86
    10/17/2014 - 01:04 p.m.

    Its amazing to see that women are starting to get into the men activities and are precipitating in our country rights. Though hopefully in the future a women can become president

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