Olympic Bobsleigh Champ Drives to Gold at World Cup in France
LA PLAGNE, Fra.—Kaillie Humphries captured her first gold medal on Friday in La Plagne, France since thrilling the nation with a dominant performance at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games where Canadian bobsleigh athletes finished on the top-two spots of the podium.
The 26-year-old Humphries teamed up with rookie brakeman, 28-year-old Emily Baadsvik, to win the second World Cup race, and ninth medal, of her career after clocking a two-run time of two minutes, 02.81 seconds (2:02.81). Humphries and Olympic teammate, Heather Moyse, won the gold medal at 2009 World Cup stop in Altenberg, Germany.
“It feels really nice. I didn’t expect to much today but sliding has gone well all week and things turned out great,” said Humphries, who also won a bronze at last year’s World Championships with Moyse to go along with her Olympic triumph. “Emily did a great job today. The start is long and flat which treated us well so we are very happy.”
Cathleen Martini and Janine Tischer teamed up in the Germany 2 sled to win the silver medal at 2:02.93, while Fabienne Meyer and Hanne Schenke locked up the bronze for Switzerland with a time of 2:02.98.
It was the first time Humphries and the world’s best sliding sport athletes have competed on the 1,507-metre track nestled in a valley of the French Alps that was created for the 1992 Olympics.
“The start is long and flat and the track is quick with long pressure corners,” said Humphries. “The sled runs well here and I think the track likes me as well. I think it is a shame we haven’t been here before and I hope we come back.”
With veteran Helen Upperton competing on a condensed schedule this year, along with multi-sport athlete Heather Moyse taking the year off, Humphries hooked up with another rugby star in Baadsvik this fall, while taking the Canadian women’s bobsleigh program on her shoulders.
“It is definitely a challenge and one we knew we would have to deal with this year,” added Humphries. “There is a lot that is new this year for sure, and every track in Europe is new to my brakeman, but I am doing my best to give them little tips and guide them where I can.
We have set goals together and are always focusing on the positive. This is the second of a four-year plan and the ultimate goal is victory in Sochi. No year will be without challenges. This year the goal is learning how to drive the new Eurotech sleds consistently, next year we will focus on continuing to improve the starts. And then we have to put the two together (consistent driving and starts) in 2014.”
Meanwhile, Mike Douglas was top Canuck in men’s skeleton which hit the track earlier in the day. Toronto’s Douglas clocked-in at 2:04.07 to place 10th. Calgary’s John Fairbairn also slid into the top-15 after finishing 14th at 2:04.69. World Cup rookie, Eric Neilson of Victoria, rounded out the Canadians on Friday in 20th (2:10.15).
Latvia’s Dukurs brothers took control of the men’s race finishing one-two. Martins Dukurs won his second-straight race with a time of 2:01.25, while Tomass, slid to the silver after stopping the clock at 2:02.23. Russia’s Alexander Tretiakov rounded out the podium in third at 2:02.42.
The World Cup continues on Saturday in La Plagne, France with men’s two-man bobsleigh and women’s skeleton.
Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton is a non-profit organization and the national governing body for the sports of bobsleigh and skeleton in Canada. With the support of its valued corporate partners – VISA, Dow Chemical, Adidas, KBC Helmets, Eurotech – Viking Engineering, SAIT Polytechnic, Therapeutica – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton develops Olympic and world champions. Please visit us at www.bobsleighcanadaskeleton.ca.
Complete Results: www.fibt.com
Top-Five Women’s Bobsleigh Results:
1. Kaillie Humphries, Calgary/Emily Baadsvik, Calgary, CAN, 2:02.81; 2. Cathleen Martini/Janine Tischer, GER 2, 2:02.93; 3. Fabienne Meyer/Hanne Schenke, SUI 1, 2:02.98; 4. Anja Schneiderheinze/Christin Senkel, GER 3, 2:03.04; 5. Sandra Kiriasis/Stephanie Schneider, GER 1, 2:03.15.
Top-Five Men’s Skeleton Results:
1. Martins Dukurs, LAT, 2:01.25; 2. Tomass Dukurs, LAT, 2:02.23; 3. Alexander Tretiakov, RUS, 2:02.42; 4. Matthew Antoine, USA, 2:03.16; 5. Frank Rommel, GER, 2:03.40
10. Mike Douglas, Toronto, 2:04.07; 14. John Fairbairn, Calgary, 2:04.69; 20. Eric Neilson, Victoria, 2:10.15.