WASHINGTON - Elana Meyers Taylor bounced her shoulders as the GW fight song kicked into gear inside Charles E. Smith Center on Monday evening. The former Colonial softball standout-turned-Olympic bobsled star was in the area amid her preparations for next month's PyeongChang Games and decided to pay a visit to Foggy Bottom.
Meyers Taylor, husband (and fellow Olympian) Nic Taylor and bobsled partner Lauren Gibbs were greeted by the GW pep band, cheerleaders, GW George, members of the current softball squad and other enthusiastic Buff and Blue supporters. They took time to meet the group and share their stories before they all head off to South Korea with Team USA.
"I love the George Washington University, so to be able to come back here and say hi to everybody and celebrate the fact that I've made my third Olympics was a really special moment," said Meyers Taylor, who will look to add to her Olympic medal collection after earning bronze in Vancouver in 2010 and silver in Sochi in 2014. "I'm just excited to be back and celebrate with GW because it's my home."
Meyers Taylor has been one of the faces of Team USA in the lead up to the PyeongChang Games, thanks to her unlikely backstory, sustained success over the past decade and prospects for adding more hardware this time around.
Before she ever took to the ice, Meyers Taylor had carved out her place in GW history. The former shortstop was the first recruit in the softball program's history and remains a fixture in its record book.
A two-time Atlantic 10 Student-Athlete of the Year for softball and a CoSIDA Academic All-American, she graduated in 2007 as the Colonials' all-time leader in nearly every offensive category.
Meyers Taylor's legacy on the diamond is never far from mind for GW softball. Her number 24 was retired in 2014 and hangs on the fence at their home field on the Mount Vernon Complex.
On Monday, the Colonials presented her with a signed ball and schedule poster.
"It just means a lot for us to actually see her in person and hear her speak about the success that she's experienced," senior pitcher Ashley Pilcher said. "It's just really inspiring and exciting for our softball program to actually connect with this person whose jersey was retired and who is continuing to be a great representative of GW and GW Softball."
It's an understandably busy time for Meyers Taylor. The GW Athletic Hall of Famer just arrived back in the U.S. on Monday after being in Germany. On Feb. 1, she will ship out for South Korea.
Yet Nic Taylor had no doubt his wife would want to squeeze a trip to her alma mater onto her packed itinerary.
"This is where her story started," Taylor said, watching Elana mingle among the current Colonials. "This place provided a great launching pad for her athletic career. It's where it all began for her, and the people here have never stopped embracing her. The support system has been continuous."