Elana Meyers hasn’t been getting much sleep lately, but the last thing she’s going to do is complain about it.
The GW softball alumna has been enjoying the demands of newfound celebrity, making the media rounds after winning a bronze medal in bobsledding with teammate Erin Pac Wednesday night at the Vancouver games.
“It’s been amazing, just being shuttled around from media event to media event, to event to event,” Meyers said Friday in a phone interview. “We’re having the time of our lives.”
Meyers is the 13th GW athlete to participate in the Olympics, the most recent having been in 2008 when former women’s basketball players Anna Montañana and Elisa Aguila represented Spain, and current women’s swimmer Sameera Al Bitar represented Bahrain at the Beijing games. Meyers is the second former Colonial to medal after Christine Collins won a bronze in rowing at the 2000 games in Sydney.
The team of Meyers and Pac raced as the United State’s second team in Vancouver, so few expected them to win a medal at the event. After the two heats on the first day of competition, however, they sat second among all competitors, trailing only the eventual gold-medal winning team from Canada.
Meyers said she woke up at 4 a.m. Wednesday, anxious to get back to the track for the final two heats in order to determine their fate.
“We were just gonna go out there and have fun,” Meyers said. “There was really no pressure on us because we weren’t expected to be there. Nobody besides ourselves really thought we would be there, to be in medal position.”
The team remained in second place after the third run, then had to wait to watch almost all of the other teams race before being the second-to-last team to take the track for the final run.
Their fourth run was their slowest of the games, moving the team back a spot into third place, but Meyers said their exact standing was of little concern when they got to the bottom of the track and saw their time.
“Pure joy – I can’t describe it any other way,” she said. “It didn’t matter that we dropped a spot. It just mattered that we had a medal.”
Meyers’ entire immediate family and her grandfather were in attendance, but she said she only got to spend a few moments celebrating with them after her victory before she was whisked away to begin attending a slew of media events.
She said Friday that it had been an almost non-stop circuit of appearances and interviews since then, with the highlight being a trip to NBC’s Today Show. Both she and Pac are big fans of the show, Meyers said, but they weren’t nervous about appearing on one of the most-watched morning programs in the country.
“We had already done the work and won the medal,” Meyers said, “so going on the show was the fun part.”
Meyers said she will take countless memories of her experience with her when she leaves Vancouver – the opening ceremonies, the time she spent bonding with Pac, the moment of victory itself.
Luckily for her, she also gets one very tangible memento of the games – her bronze medal, which she said she has been showing everybody she’s seen since Thursday’s emotional ceremony. “I was bragging to everybody that I wouldn’t cry, but it was so overwhelming when we got up there,” she said of her time on the podium. “It was wonderful. It was one of the best moments of my life. It made it real.”