Kaillie Humphries took third in her first four-man bobsled competition at the Canadian Championships in Calgary over the weekend, another step in her quest to be the first woman to drive a four-man sled on the World Cup tour.
The International Bobsled Federation (FIBT) made four-man bobsled gender neutral beginning this season, a rule amendment Humphries pushed for even before she won her second straight Olympic gold in Sochi.
Humphries hopes to pilot a sled with three men’s push athletes against other four-man sleds on the World Cup tour, beginning in Lake Placid, N.Y., in December. U.S. Olympic silver medalist Elana Meyers Taylor is pursuing the same goal (Meyers’ U.S. selection races are this coming weekend).
On Sunday, Humphries was beaten only by two of Canada’s Olympic drivers in Sochi — Justin Kripps and Chris Spring. The race marked Humphries’ fifth and sixth runs ever in a four-man sled.
Humprhies’ two-run time of 1 minute, 52.1 seconds was 1.19 seconds behind Kripps and .73 behind Spring. The men’s drivers who finished behind Humphries were inexperienced internationally.
Finishing no lower than third was key for Humphries, given Canada can enter three four-man sleds in World Cup races.
“The ultimate goal is four years from now [2018 Olympics, presumably] so there are a number of steps we need to take together including qualifying for the World Cup, but overall this was a good first step and fun,” Humphries said, according to Bobsleigh Canada.
In order to qualify to compete on the World Cup circuit, Humphries still has to compete in five international races on three different tracks to meet FIBT rules.
Humphries and her team are scheduled to compete at the first four North America Cup races later this month in Park City, Utah and Calgary. There are international races in Europe before the first World Cup in Lake Placid that Humphries could enter to satisfy the FIBT requirement.