St. Moritz, Sui.—Kaillie Humphries and Melissa Lotholz put down their best performance ever as a team in St. Moritz where they won the silver medal, but they will leave the birthplace of the sport with bittersweet feelings.
“I don’t think I have actually ever lost a race by one-hundredth of a second before. I asked the girls ‘is it really bad that I’m mad.’ I think I’d rather lose by more than one-hundredth of a second,” laughed Calgary’s Humphries, who was leading after the opening run and knows there are a million ways to find that hundredth of a second.
Yes – after posting the fastest pushes in both runs and nearly perfect driving on both trips down the 1.7 kilometre track of pure breathtaking natural ice, the Canadian duo finished less than a blink of an eye from the gold with a time of 2:16.15.
“This stings a bit, but we still came away with the silver. At the end of the day, this is great for women’s bobsleigh. It is great to see the competition on the women’s side so tight. Everyone is pushing so good, and if you aren’t fully on it on the day, you aren’t going to win,” added Humphries. “This will keep us hungry, and it will push us not to become complacent. We will take the positives from this race and not dwell on losing but such a small margin.”
The Canadian duo’s top rivals, Elana Meyers Taylor and Briauna Jones from the United States climbed two spots in the final heat to win the gold with a time of 2:16.14. The other American team of Jamie Greubel Poser and Lauren Gibbs were third at 2:16.29.
It was the 42nd career World Cup podium for Humphries to go along with her four World Championship and two Olympic medals. She has two victories and a bronze on the St. Moritz track – one of those wins coming at the 2013 World Championships.
“Being the birthplace of the sport, it is a really cool place,” added Humphries. “It is a lot more of my driving style. This place brings together the whose who in the world – there is no chance I’d ever be here unless I’m with bobsleigh – but it is just an amazing place and so cool to see what the track workers do to prepare and shape the track.”
It was the 14th career World Cup podium for Lotholz, of Barrhead, Alta., since hopping into Humphries’ sled three years ago. Her previous best in St. Moritz came last year when they finished third.
“We had the fastest push times today so that was really exciting,” said Lotholz. “Kaillie and I have spent two years chasing these American girls down and to walk away from today with the fastest pushes is very rewarding. Yes we wanted the gold, but when we got to the bottom I was insanely happy knowing I hopped in the sled having pushed well.”
Lotholz has been having a strong friendly competition all season with Toronto’s Cynthia Appiah to have the opportunity to push Canada’s top bobsleigh. The two have been splitting starts this season. Lotholz pushed Humphries to gold in Altenberg two weeks ago, and rookie pilot Alyssia Rissling to a fourth-place finish in her World Cup debut at the season-opener in Whistler.
“It has been a complete team effort all year,” said Lotholz. “We, Cynthia and I, have had some really friendly competition going on all year and she played a big role in today’s success as well. Today I just focused on the process and letting things happen.
“It means a lot to get on the podium here in St. Moritz. The track is so much fun to slide on because it is so different than anything else in the world. You just feel like one on the track. It is a bittersweet day for sure.”
The Canadian girls will all be back on the start line Sunday for the World Cup four-man competition St. Moritz.
- Elana Myers Taylor/Briauna Jones, USA, 2:16.14; 2. Kaillie Humphries, Calgary/Melissa Lotholz, Barrhead, Alta., CAN, 2:16.15; 3. Jamie Greubel Poser/Lauren Gibbs, USA, 2:16.29; 4. Mariama Jamanka/Annika Drazek, GER, 2:16.58; 5. Christina Hengster/Sanne Monique Dekker, AUT, 2:16.87.