U.S. bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor announced Wednesday that she will not compete this season because she is pregnant, though she plans to return in a year to prepare for the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
Meyers Taylor and her husband, fellow U.S. bobsledder Nic Taylor, are expecting their first child in March.
Meyers Taylor is a three-time Olympic medalist, winning the silver medal as a driver at both the 2014 Sochi Games and the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. She also was a brakeman in the sled piloted by Erin Pac that won bronze at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
"Now I have the chance to win this dream," Meyers Taylor said. "We are excited for our little miracle."
Meyers Taylor has won 17 World Cup races in her career, with at least one victory in each of the last six seasons, and has claimed medals in 21 of the 24 World Cup events held over the last three seasons. She also is a two-time world champion, six-time world championships medalist and won the overall World Cup title in the 2014-15 season.
"We fully support Elana as she takes the time she needs for her family," USA Bobsled and Skeleton Interim CEO John Rosen said. "Nothing is more important, and we wish her and Nic all the happiness in the world."
There have been plenty of examples of women returning to the elite level of sliding after becoming mothers, including 2002 Olympic bobsled gold medalist Vonetta Flowers, skeleton racer Noelle Pikus-Pace and 2006 Olympic skeleton champion Maya Pedersen of Switzerland.
"Fortunately I've had great examples of moms that have competed within sliding sports like Noelle Pikus-Pace and Vonetta Flowers to show me what is possible," Meyers Taylor said.
Her absence this season likely means Brittany Reinbolt would move into the USA-1 sled — unless two-time Olympic champion and three-time medalist Kaillie Humphries gets the release she is seeking from Canadian officials and is permitted to join the U.S. team. Humphries has been seeking that release for several weeks, after saying she was the subject of verbal and mental abuse by Canada coach and former U.S. bobsledder Todd Hays.
Reinbolt has five career top-five finishes on the World Cup circuit as a pilot but no medals. Her best finish was fourth on home ice in Lake Placid, New York, three seasons ago.
USA Bobsled begins its season with push championships in Lake Placid on Thursday. On-ice training is scheduled to begin in October, and the World Cup season begins in Park City, Utah, on Nov. 29.
Meyers Taylor intends to return for the 2020-21 season, including the 2021 world championships in Lake Placid.