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Elana Meyer

elana meyer

Elana Meyer - Motivational Speaker, Mc and Celebrity Sportswoman - Cape Town

Now that I have retired from professional athletics, I intend to use the vast experience I have gained throughout my career to help others (athletes, businesspeople, parents) achieve their own personal goals.

Elana was born on the 10th of October 1966 in Albertinia in the Southern Cape, South Africa. At the tender age of eighteen months, she was nearly killed when, in a freak accident, she landed with her head under the wheels of a vehicle. Elana was rushed to the closest hospital, and miraculously survived. This incident has had a profound influence on the way in which Elana views and lives her life. She considers life a precious gift, and consequently lives every day to the fullest.

elana meyer

Early years

Elana, the second of four children, discovered her talent for running at an early age. At the age of thirteen, she entered and won her first official race – the FOOT OF AFRICA half marathon. Soon after that she started competing against the barefoot wonder, Zola Budd, who dominated South African athletics in the 1980s. Elana soon realized realised that if she wanted to be reach the top whether at national or international level – it would require hard work and a total dedication. During the 1980s, Elana achieved great success at national level, and was awarded her Springbok colours as a junior athlete.

Due to South Africas sporting isolation, Elana was initially prevented from competing internationally. This did not deter her, however, from using international standards and times as a benchmark for setting her own running goals. She also used these years to pursue her other goal that of completing her university studies. Elana was awarded her B.Comm and B.Comm (Hons) degrees as well as her Higher Education Diploma from the University of Stellenbosch. She then enrolled for a Masters degree in Marketing, but that had to be put aside temporarily in the interest of international racing when South Africas period of isolation ended in the early 1990s.

elana meyer

Olympics ‘92 – Making History

The defining moment of Elana’s career came soon thereafter. Competing in the Barcelona Olympics, South Africas first Olympic Games since 1960, Elana was the countrys best hope for a gold medal. Reflecting on being allowed to compete at the Olympics, Meyer said:
“t was amazing. I kept telling myself, ‘It is true, it is true, I am here.’ It was very emotional. I had waited such a long time.” It seemed that the entire nation was glued to their television sets as the athletes set off in the 10 000 meters, a race that would take over 30 minutes to complete. The country was not to be disappointed Elana won an historic Olympic medal.

elana meyer

However, the abiding memory of the event was created when the winner, Derartu Tulu from Ethiopia and Meyer, the silver medal winner, embraced, and then draped their respective flags around their shoulders and ran an historic victory lap together to massive applause from the crowd. Tulu’s victory was the first by a black African athlete at the Olympics, and the shared joy of the Ethiopian and Meyer, black and white united, was a victory for a South African nation that was rapidly uniting and approaching its first democratic elections
International Career

Showing her versatility, Meyer returned to winning form in the same year and the following year with African titles in the 1 500 metres.

Another 13 years on the International circuit followed, during which Elana broke five world records and won both a world cup and the world half marathon titles.

Between 1992, when she exploded onto the international scene, and 2005, when she retired, Elana performed consistently well on the world stage and was a feared and respected competitor wherever she competed. As one of her competitors once said: “If Elana Meyer is in the race you know it will be a hard and fast race.” At the age of 35, Elana broke the South African national 10km record in Budapest, and continued to race successfully until her retirement three years later.

elana meyer

The next stage

Elana officially retired from racing in January 2005, but one thing remains certain: she will continue to live life to the fullest. Elana believes that she now has the chance and opportunity to invest her energy and experience into projects that can inspire, empower and encourage others to similarly live life to the fullest. Having received so much encouragement and support from all South Africans during her years of domestic and international racing, Elana is now intent on making a positive contribution to the country she loves so dearly.

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Elana Meyer - Motivational Speaker, Mc and Celebrity Sportswoman - Cape Town

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