In the final women's monobob training heats before Olympic competition begins, one of Team USA's bobsledding stars showed she still had work to do – but remained a medal contender ahead of the event's official debut.
Two-time silver medalist Elana Meyers Taylor demonstrated she still hadn't quite figured out the serpentine course known as "The Flying Snow Dragon" by the end of Saturday morning local time.
Meanwhile, despite being on the start list, two-time gold medalist Kaillie Humphries did not compete in either Heats 5 or 6 for reasons unknown. Across the first four training runs, Humphries had finished fourth, second, third, and second, respectively.
Meyers Taylor, who tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after arriving at the Games but later was cleared to compete, took to Instagram to share her thoughts on the course (and her journey) earlier this week.
View social media post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZt8iIulD4y/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
Meyers Taylor struggled through a bumpy Heat 5, and endured some hard hits during Heat 6; her 1:05:29-minute time for the former put her in ninth place, while her slower, 1:05:40-minute Heat 6 earned her a fourth place-finish. Meyers Taylor's first four runs saw her place fifth, tenth, thirteenth, and eighth, respectively – indicating progress taming "The Dragon."
Like so many other athletes competing in the sister sliding sports of skeleton and luge, the bobsled veteran struggled with the bottom of the course. Referred to as "The Dragon's tail," curves 12 and 13 feature particularly sharp turns and elevation gain.
The majority of athletes crash while entering curve 13 on the Yanqing National Sliding Centre's track.
SEE MORE: Bobsled 101: Venue
After finishing Heat 6, Meyers Taylor offered a slight nod – though her facial expressions were obscured by her helmet.
"How do you feel, Elana?" commentator Kate Hansen asked as Meyers Taylor slowed to a stop. "Did you get it, did you figure it out? 'Cause now it's time to put the puzzle pieces together."
Germany's Laura Nolte – who finished sixth overall in the World Cup monobob rankings, and first in the two-woman standings – topped both Heats 5 and 6. She did not finish outside the top four during the first four training runs, establishing herself as a clear medal contender.
The first two heats of the women's monobob competition take place Saturday, February 12 at 8:30 p.m. ET. The full 2022 Winter Olympics bobsled schedule can be found HERE.
Fri, Feb 11 | 9:00 p.m.
Women's Monobob Training Heats 5,6
Sat, Feb 12 | 8:30 p.m.
Women's Monobob Heats 1, 2
Sun, Feb 13 | 8:30 p.m.
🏅 Women's Monobob Heats 3, 4
Fri, Feb 18 | 7:00 a.m.
Two-Woman Bobsled: Heats 1, 2
Sat, Feb 19 | 7:00 a.m.
🏅 Two-Woman Bobsled: Heats 3, 4