German bobsled wins gold, Elana Meyers Taylor takes home silver for Team USA
Gold: Mariama Jamanka and Lisa Buckwitz (Germany)
Silver: Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs (United States)
Bronze: Kaillie Humphries and Phylicia George (Canada)
German women won two medals in luge. They added another in skeleton. And after the women’s bobsled on Tuesday, they tacked on one more gold.
Pilot Mariama Jamanka and Lisa Buckwitz won Germany’s latest gold in a sliding sport in PyeongChang, defeating Team USA’s Elana Meyers Taylor sled by 0.07 seconds. Meyers Taylor, along with brakeman Lauren Gibbs, matched the silver she won in Sochi.
Two-time defending champion champion Kallie Humprhies of Canada, who had a different brakeman for each gold and was riding with Summer Olympian Phylicia George in PyeongChang, won bronze. In her three Olymipcs, she never finished off the podium.
The American sled piloted by Jamie Greubel Poser with brakeman Aja Evans finished fifth, 0.13 seconds off the podium.
“I am so happy with this medal," Meyers Taylor said. "Of course you want a gold medal, but after May 6th I wasn’t sure I was ever going to bobsled again." Steve Holcomb passed away unexpectedly in his room at the Lake Placid, New York, Olympic training center on May 6 -- he led the U.S. men to gold in four-man bobsled in 2010. "So to be able to get back in the sled and come back after all we’ve been through -- all this team’s been through -- I couldn’t be happier. I really miss [Steve] Holcomb, and I’m so thankful we’re able to be here today.”
Meyers Taylor, who won bronze in 2010 and silver in 2014, said she hopes to be back in 2022. "I really want to go for it in another four [years], hopefully in two-man and four-man," she said.
The win gave Germany its fifth Olympic gold of these games (this includes the men's team) in sliding events. That number tied the record for gold at a single games.
Jamanka won gold in her Olympic debut. She led after two runs, and delivered in Run 3, setting a track record with a phenomenal run down the course. She hit the lines perfectly to put the pressure on Meyers Taylor -- and Meyers Taylor, who has dealt with an achilles injury in PyeongChang, delivered with a course record of her own. She was 0.07 seconds back after two runs, but closed the gap to 0.04 heading into the final run.
The stage was set for a thrilling final leg. It, too, did not disappoint. Elana Meyers had her best run of the Games, but Jamanka matched it, to give Germany yet another win on the PyeongChang sliding course.
“I couldn’t believe it," Jamanka said. "I was sitting in my sled running down to the finish, saw that we were first, and thought, ‘What?’ I couldn’t believe it.”
There was a separate race for third, as three sleds from Germany, the U.S., and Canada were separated by only 0.04 after two runs. Humphries’ Canadian sled jumped from fifth to third on Run 3, taking a 0.05 lead over Greubel Poser’s U.S. sled heading into the final run. Greubel Poser, who won bronze with Aja Evans in 2014, couldn't put it together on the final run, however. She hit the wall twice coming out of the treacherous ninth turn and fell out of medal contention.
“I’m really proud of my fourth run down the track," Greubel Poser said. "I gave it absolutely everything I had. I don’t think there’s anything I would change in that run. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to move us up into the medals, but I don’t have any regrets about today.”
Outside the medal race, teams from Jamaica and Nigeria made history in PyeongChang. The Jamaican sled became the first women’s sled from the Cool Runnings country to compete in the Games while the Nigerian women became the first African nation to participate in women’s bobsled. Jamaica finished the competition in 19th. Nigeria finished 20th.