Elana Meyers, Olympic Medalist, Bobsled
Elana grew up outside of Atlanta, Georgia and was 9 years old when the Olympic Games came to Atlanta in 1996. The experience of being at the Olympics gave rise to her Olympic dreams. She has pursued education as passionately as her sports career. Elana holds Bachelor’s and Masters degrees from George Washington University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Finance through DeVry University.
What got you started in your sport?
When I was 9 years old, I decided I was going to be an Olympian. Later in my athletic career, I decided the sport that would take me there was going to be softball. I had several tryouts with the US National team, but had horrible tryouts and was going to try to make the final Olympic softball team (softball was taken out of the games in 2008) by hopefully having a good professional season. I played a professional season, but decided it was time to hang up my cleats, and go onto pursuing medical school. However, I couldn't get rid of my dream to be an Olympian. My parents had recommended bobsled to me in 2002 when Vonetta Flowers and Jill Bakken won a gold medal at the Salt Lake City Olympics, but at the time I was focused on softball. After I retired from softball in 2007, I remembered bobsled and emailed a coach to see what the process would be to tryout. I was invited up to Lake Placid in September 2007, made the team, and haven't left.
What advice would you give to students about following their passion/their dreams?
Your dreams and passions are specific to you. In order to make your dreams come true, you have to stay committed to your goals and do everything you can to make it happen. It's going to take a lot of hard work and diligence, but as long as you stay committed and pursue your goal with integrity, anything can happen. People will try to tell you that you can't achieve your dreams, but let that motivate you to work even harder.
How do you give back?
I give back first by working with youth. I volunteer at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta whenever possible and also work with Classroom Champions to teach students values such as teamwork, goal setting, and nutrition. I also was previously a substitute teacher and a softball and soccer coach, which allowed me to be a positive influence on youth. I currently do speaking engagements in schools to speak on a variety of topics- everything from the world as a female athlete, to body image, to motivation. I also recently joined Right to Play as an athlete ambassador, to promote the organization that educates children worldwide through play.