—Canadian duo capture third gold medal of season, fifth straight podium—
PARK CITY, UTAH—Kaillie Humphries and Melissa Lotholz captured their third gold medal of the season after stomping the field in the women’s World Cup bobsleigh race in Park City, Utah on Friday afternoon.
Sitting in second spot after the first run behind the Austrian sled, who was looking for their first victory, Humphries (Calgary) and Lotholz (Barrhead, Alta.) let it all out
on their second trip down the snowy 13-corner Olympic track, to take the victory with a two-run time of 1:40.38.
“It was another good race, and a close race. It is always a little nerve wracking when it is snowing because you never quite know, but we had a good start position today and it all worked out,” said Humprhies, who along with Lotholz also have a silver and bronze medal in the five races this year.
“Consistency is such a big part of our sport. You do know the pressure is on a little bit (in the second run) more for a team who has not won before. But I really just wanted to focus on what we were doing. I knew we could get better on our second run and we did.”
It was the second career victory for Humphries in Park City. She also has two World Cup silver medals in her career on the quick 1,350-metre track.
“I like Park City a lot. It reminds me a lot of Calgary so it has a great atmosphere here,” added Humphries. “The track is fun to drive. It has some challenges but overall the track and I seem to correspond really well.”
Chasing the Canadians after the opening run, the American team of Jamie Greubel Poser and Lauren Gibbs put down a lightening quick start of 5.23 in their final heat leading them to a spot on the podium. But it was Canada’s day as Humphries and Lotholz matched that fastest start time of the second heat, and drove away from the field into the winner’s circle.
“This was a big win for us,” said Lotholz. “I really had no idea what the Americans or Germans did before us. I knew our first start wasn’t the greatest so I reviewed some things with the coaches during the break, and I just wanted to come out and give it my all. My primary job is that I’m the motor of the sled. Once I get in the sled you feel job satisfaction, and then I put a lot of trust in Kaillie to do the rest. She is one of the best at what she does.”
“It was a close first run, and I knew we had a lot of room for improvement in our second run,” added Humphries. “I knew in the second run we had to go blast the start together, and I had a couple of parts on the track I had to clean up. It is a huge learning period for all of us doing both the two- and four-man. That really comes into play in the start. Melissa really stepped up today, and it is nice to get the win.”
Austria’s Christina Hengster and Sanne Monique Dekker held on for the silver with a time of 1:40.54. The Americans Greubel Poser and Gibbs finished in the bronze-medal position with a time of 1:40.85.
It was the 35th career medal for the 30-year-old Humphries and 16th World Cup victory to go along with her two Olympic and World Championship titles. Lotholz has eight career podium finishes with Humphries in her two years of sliding on the World Cup.
The Canadian duo increased their lead on the Overall World Cup over Jamie Greubel Poser as they head to the next World Cup stop on their home track at the Whistler Sliding Centre next week.
Humprhies and Lotholz will also head back to the start line this evening in Park City while competing in an all-women’s sled for the four-man race. Men’s and women’s skeleton, along with a second four-man bobsleigh race, will take place Saturday.
Top-Five Women’s Bobsleigh Results:
1. Kaillie Humphries, Calgary/Melissa Lotholz, Barrhead, Alta., CAN, 1:40.38; 2. Christina Hengster/Sanne Monique Dekker, AUT, 1:40.54; 3. Jamie Greubel Poser/Lauren Gibbs, USA, 1:40.85; 4. Anja Schneiderheinze/Annika Drazek, GER, 1:41.07; 5. Elfje Willemsen/Sophie Vercruyssen, BEL, 1:41.20