—Chris Spring and Lascelles Brown sit fifth heading into final day of two-man race—
IGLS, Aut.—Kaillie Humphries and Melissa Lotholz put a silver lining around a stellar season in women’s bobsleigh at the World Championships in Igls, Austria on Saturday.
Calgary’s Humphries and Lotholz, of Barrhead, Alta., slid to the podium for the eighth straight time in as many races this year after locking up the silver with a four-run time of 3 minutes 32.71 seconds held over the last two days.
“I’m not going to lie, I like being on top of the podium but at the end of the day I’m pretty happy with the way we performed the last two days,” said Humphries. “We did everything we could, and followed everything that was planned heading into the race so it is a good feeling knowing we left it all out there. We have to be extremely happy with the silver medal knowing there was nothing more we could do on the day.”
It was the fourth career World Championship medal for the 30-year-old Humphries who also has two victories (2013, 2012) at the premiere international bobsleigh dance outside an Olympic year, along with a bronze in 2011.
Only two of Humphries’ 36 career World Cup medals have come on the relatively flat 1,478-metre track in Igls, which has twice hosted the Olympic Winter Games, and also played host to the Youth Olympic Winter Games.
“I am kind of neutral with the track in Igls. I enjoy it, but it is also not my favourite at the end of the day. It is definitely a starters track where I tend to like the more challenging tracks. I have always had one of the fastest starts in the world and we were right there again today. The Germans were just a little better.”
The Canadian duo were sitting in third spot after the opening run, but after a strong second heat, headed into the final day in second spot where they stayed for good.
It was the first World Championship medal for the 23-year-old Lotholz, who has been pushing Humphries to the podium over the last two years. Thanks to Lotholz taking her start times to a new level, the Canadian duo have four victories, one silver medal and two bronze medals on the World Cup this year where they are running away with the women’s Overall World Cup title with just one race to go in two weeks time.
“It feels great. We left it all on the track,” said Lotholz. “We went into this race focusing on what we knew we could control and we did what we could. The Germans just had a great race.
“Looking back on this season, with one more race to go, it is almost overwhelming to see how far we’ve come. This is year two of a four-year cycle with the ultimate goal to be on top of the podium at the Games in 2018. Last year we had three podiums together and now we have been on the podium in eighth straight races so this year has been affirming for me.”
Germany’s Anja Schneiderheinze and Annika Drazek led wire-to-wire to secure their first ever women’s World Championship bobsleigh crown. The German sled clocked a time of 3:32.38. Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs, of the United States, teamed up to claim the bronze medal with a time of 3:32.87.
Two other Canadian women’s sleds were making their World Championship debut in Igls. Alysia Rissling (Calgary) and Julia Corrente (Chatham, Ont.) slid to 13th spot at 3:35.31. Ontario’s Christine DeBruin and Cynthia Appiah were 16th (3:35.66).
Earlier in the day the men completed their first two of four runs in the two-man bobsleigh race. Sitting in eighth spot after the first bomb down the Igls track, Canada’s Calgary-based duo of Chris Spring and Lascelles bolted three spots up the standings into fifth (1:43.47) with the final two runs set for Sunday.
Justin Kripps, of Summerland, B.C., and Alex Kopacz, of London, Ont., are in ninth spot at 1:43.70.
Germany’s Johannes Lochner and Joshua Bluhm lead the way with a time of 1:43.12.