Kaillie Humphries
Reuters

Kaillie Humphries set for more gender-breaking history in bobsled World Cup

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Olympic bobsled gold and silver medalists Kaillie Humphries and Elana Meyers Taylor made history last season when they became the first women to pilot sleds in World Cup four-man races.

Humphries and Meyers Taylor each drove sleds with three men’s push athletes after four-man was declared gender-neutral.

To start 2016, Humphries is taking another unprecedented step. She will pilot an all-female sled against the men in World Cup races. The Canadian sled will debut in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Saturday.

“I still think, with a proper men’s crew, I can be one of the best in the world,” Humphries said, according to the Toronto Sun. “But I have to take a side step and head up the women’s division. This is the direction Bobsleigh Canada would like me to head in, and I accept that graciously.”

Humphries, 30, competed in most of the 2014-15 World Cup four-man races with three men’s push athletes and posted a best finish of 14th. She beat some men’s sleds, but it will be tougher with three female push athletes with less training time together.

“We’re going to go out and do the best we can, and it would be amazing if we can beat some of the tiny, tiny nations that aren’t necessarily the best in bobsleigh with the women’s crew,” Humphries said, according to the Canadian Press. “That’s one of our internal goals, to beat one men’s team at some point.”

Neither Humphries nor Meyers Taylor competed in the first three World Cup four-man races this season — Humphries had a dispute with Bobsleigh Canada, while Meyers Taylor is dealing with long-term concussion effects.

A first-ever exhibition four-woman race will take place at the World Championships in Igls, Austria, on Feb. 21. Humphries hopes four-woman will eventually be an Olympic event, after two-woman bobsled debuted at Salt Lake City 2002.

“The first step was proving that we could drive the four-man sled, which is what Elana and I did on the circuit last year,” Humphries said, according to the newspaper. “So the whole goal of us doing everything is for us to be able to turn women’s four-man into an Olympic event.”

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Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis eyeing Grand Slam record

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Serena Williams travels with “like 50 masks” and has been a little bit of a recluse since early March and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t have full lung capacity, so I’m not sure what would happen to me,” Williams said Saturday, two days before the start of the WTA’s Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., her first tournament since playing Fed Cup in early February. “I’m sure I’ll be OK, but I don’t want to find out.”

Williams, 38, has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. She faced life-threatening complications following her Sept. 1, 2017, childbirth that confined her to a bed for six weeks. She said her daily routine was surgery and that she lost count after the first four.

More recently, Williams enjoyed “every part” of the last six months at home in Florida, her longest time grounded since her teens.

“I’ve been a little neurotic, to an extent,” on health and safety, she said. “Everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.”

Williams is entered to play next week in Lexington and at consecutive tournaments in New York City later this month — the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open, the latter starting Aug. 31.

Williams is the highest-ranked player in the Lexington field at No. 9. Others include 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, older sister Venus Williams and 16-year-old Coco Gauff.

She has been bidding ever since having daughter Olympia to tie Margaret Court‘s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, albeit many of Court’s crowns came before the Open Era and, notably at the Australian Open, against small fields lacking the world’s best players. Williams reached the last two Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals, losing all of them.

She showed her seriousness in committing early to this year’s U.S. Open by installing a court at home with the same surface. Three of the top 10 female singles players already said they will skip the U.S. Open due to travel and/or virus concerns, including No. 1 Ash Barty.

“Tennis is naturally a socially distanced sport, so it was kind of easy to go back and just walk on my side of the court and have my hitter walk on his side of the court,” Williams said.

The French Open starts two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Williams was asked if she will fly to Europe for tournaments this autumn.

“I see myself doing it all, if it happens,” she said.

The Tokyo Olympics are too far away to make plans.

“We’ll have to kind of wait to see what happens in the fall,” she said. “One thing I have learned with this pandemic is don’t plan.”

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Conseslus Kipruto tests positive for coronavirus, canceling world-record bid

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Conseslus Kipruto, the Olympic and world 3000m steeplechase champion, tested positive for the coronavirus without symptoms, which will keep him from a world-record chase on Friday, according to his social media.

The Kenyan was to race in the first in-person Diamond League meet of the year in Monaco on Friday.

“Our World is going through a challenging period and we all have to take our responsibilities,” was posted. “Unfortunately my covid-19 test, as part of the Monaco-protocol, came back positive and therefore I can’t be part of the Monaco Diamond League.

“I don’t have any symptoms and I was actually in great shape. I was planning to go for the WR: it has stayed too long outside Kenya. As the World & Olympic Champion I feel strongly its something I should go for as well.”

Kipruto, 25, is the 14th-fastest steepler in history with a personal best of 8:00.12. The world record is 7:53.63, set by Kenyan-born Qatari Saif Saaeed Shaheen in 2004.

Last year, Kipruto won the world title by .01, extending a streak of a Kenyan or Kenyan-born man winning every Olympic or world title in the event since the 1988 Seoul Games. He was sidelined by a stress fracture in his left foot until opening his season extremely late on Aug. 24.

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Our World is going through a challenging period and we all have to take our responsibilities. Unfortunately my covid-19 test, as part of the Monaco-protocol, came back positive and therefore I can’t be part of the Monaco Diamond League on August 14th. I don’t have any symptoms and I was actually in great shape. I was planning to go for the WR: it has stayed too long outside Kenya. As the World & Olympic Champion I feel strongly its something I should go for as well. Wish to thank Monaco for all the work they have done and I wish them and my colleagues a wonderful competition. Athletics is back and I will be back as well. Anyone willing to organise a steeple once I can be cleared? @diamondleaguemonaco #nike #quarantine #WR #Kenya

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