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Soldier wins bobsled World Cup in run-up to Olympics

Elana Meyers Taylor (left) and Spc. Lake Kwaza (right) claim a bobsled World Cup win Sigulda, Latvia, January 2, 2022. (Photo Courtesy Viesturs Lacis / International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Foundation, DVIDS-Released)
January 13, 2022

U.S. Army Spc. Lake Kwaza and her teammate Elana Meyers Taylor won the women’s two-person bobsled World Cup event in Sigulda, Latvia on Jan. 2. The win may help propel the team to the 2022 Olympics held in Beijing next month.

Kwaza and Meyers Taylor finished their two runs in 1 minute, 41.88 seconds beating the second-place British team and third-place Canadian team by .22 and .24 of a second respectively. This is Kwaza’s second World Cup victory since 2019.

Kwaza is a Soldier-athlete assigned to the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program (WCAP), Fort Carson, Colo. WCAP highlighted her gold-medal run in a press release last week.

The U.S. team had been tied with the Russian team of Nadezhda Sergeeva and Yulia Belomestnykh during their first run. Kwaza and Meyers Taylor stayed in the lead in the second run after the Russian team crashed, falling to 15th place.

“The race last weekend was very close with Russia,” said Kwaza. “The amount of focus between myself and Elana couldn’t have been any better.”

Kwaza, a native of Sycamore, Ill., is part of the U.S. Olympic bobsled and skeleton team. She’s working to qualify to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympic games, which is being hosted in Beijing, China. The qualification for the Olympic games is based on the world rankings of the 2021/2022 season. The final qualifying event before the Olympic games in February is in St. Moritz, Switzerland on January 15 and 16.

WCAP is a program that allows top-ranked Soldier-athletes to perform internationally while continuing to serve in the military. Soldiers from the Active, Reserve and National Guard components, and are selected to join WCAP, where they work with top civilian and military coaches while also keeping up with Army requirements, attending military schools and competing with their uniformed counterparts. 

Since 1948, 446 Soldiers have represented the U.S. at various Olympic games, and have earned a total of 111 medals, across a variety of sports.

“WCAP also grants the Army important national visibility and reinforces public pride in our Armed Forces,” the special Army program states on its website. “Especially during high-profile competitions like the Olympics, WCAP Soldiers provide positive role models, motivate their fellow Soldiers and give Americans another reason to get excited about the Army.”