Feb 06, 2014 01:54 PM EST
Sochi Olympics 2014: Elana Meyers Goes From GWU Softball Standout to Team USA Bobsled Medal Contender
When Elana Meyers imagined herself as an Olympic athlete, she did not even picture herself competing in the winter games.
She was a standout shortstop on George Washington University's (GWU) softball team and dreamed of playing for team U.S.A. in the 2004 summer games in Athens, Greece. Now she will be competing for the second time for her nation's bobsled team.
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According to the Washington Post, Meyers contacted the U.S. Bobsled team three years after what she called "the worst tryout anybody has ever had in the history of tryouts." After not making the U.S. softball team, bobsled officials were intrigued by her strength and athletic ability.
As a brakeman in a two-person sled, Meyers helped team U.S.A. win the bronze in the 2010 Vancouver games. Now the sled's pilot, Meyers, 29, and Aja Evans, 25, are medal favorites for the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia.
Evans, a former college athlete herself, won the Big Ten championship in shot put three times and became a bobsledder last year.
Evans and Meyers will compete against three strong sleds from Germany and 2010 gold medal winners from Canada. Meyers told the Washington Times her new role as the sled's pilot is very different and so are the team's expectations.
"The role of a driver is drastically different than a brakeman," she said. "As a brakeman we were on a team and we weren't expected to medal. We didn't really have any expectations. So now going into my second Olympics in a position where we're going to contend for a medal, it's definitely a different perspective."
Meyers proved that the sled's pusher does not need bobsledding experience and Evans, a proven track and field athlete, should fit in just fine. Ever since the 2010 games, Meyers has piloted her sled and now she has a chance to medal in a sport she never even considered since her failed softball tryout.
However, Meyers did not give up her softball career that easily. After a short professional career and other tryouts, the International Olympic Committee announced that, starting with the 2012 London games, softball would no longer be a recognized sport.
"Immediately I thought that it was over," Meyers told the Washington Times. "But I was never going to stop being an athlete and I knew I was going to do whatever it took to become an athlete. I emailed different sports about opportunities, but they didn't respond. [USA Bobsled Federation] responded so - here I am."