MELANIE SMITH TAYLOR
Melanie Smith Taylor is an equestrian analyst for the 2016 Rio Olympics, which marks her eighth Olympic assignment with NBC Sports Group. Taylor has served as the network’s Olympic equestrian analyst since the 1988 Games in Seoul.
Taylor began riding at three years old and was a member of the U.S. Equestrian Team from 1975 until she announced her retirement in 1987. A gold medalist at the 1979 Pan American Games in Puerto Rico, Taylor was named to the 1980 U.S. Olympic Equestrian team, which did not compete due to the U.S. boycott of the Moscow Games. At the Los Angeles Games in 1984, Taylor led theU.S. showjumping team to its first gold medal with her mount, Calypso.
Taylor earned the American Grandprix Association’s “Lady Rider of the Year” honor in 1978, and was also named AGA’s overall “Rider of the Year.” Her record that year convinced the AGA that women could perform on completely even terms with men, leading to a decision to discontinue the separate “Lady Rider” award. Taylor is only one of two riders to ever win the “Triple Crown of Show Jumping,” by winning the American Invitational, International Jumping Derby, and the American Gold Cup. She is also the only person to win all three on the same horse, Calypso.
Taylor continues to be involved at all levels of the equestrian world, including judging, teaching nationally, and coaching teams in international competition. She published a book entitled Riding with Life… from the Ground Up that shares and connects the lessons she has learned from the greatest horsemen in her life.