She’s one of the best bobsledders in the world. She was one of the first women to compete against men in the four-man bobsled.

Olympian Elana Meyers Taylor is also a mentor for six classrooms in the United States, sharing her own lessons in perseverance, determination, and grit with hundreds of students every month.

Meyers Taylor is Classroom Champion, one of 125 athletes who virtually mentor students to share social-emotional skills they’ve learned from their athletic experiences. Co-founded in 2009 by another American Olympic bobsledder, Steve Mesler, Classroom Champions has grown to serve 25,000 students in 1,000 classrooms in seven countries.

A former gold medalist, Mesler grew up in a family of teachers and often visited schools for one-off speeches, usually about the importance of staying healthy. But he left those events feeling like he wasn’t having an impact other than potentially disrupting the school day.

So he teamed up with his sister, Leigh Parise — an education researcher and former New York public school teacher — to create a program that could scale this kind of mentoring work. Classroom Champions pairs athletes with several classrooms, and the athletes make monthly videos on topics like fair play, determination, and community that they share with the students. Once a week, teachers present lessons on these skills, and they incorporate social-emotional vocabulary words such as grit, perseverance, and determination throughout the school day.

The experience has created a community for the athletes and the students. Teachers say their students look forward to Classroom Champions lessons, and the athletes follow their classrooms on Twitter or Google Plus, encouraging the students through their comments.

Read the full article about learning from Olympians by Kate Stringer at The 74.