Canadian-turned-American Kaillie Humphries won Saturday in her first career race in monobob, a one-person bobsled discipline that debuts at the Winter Olympics in 2022 as a women’s event.
Humphries, who captured the 2010 and 2014 Olympic two-woman titles for Canada and the 2020 World two-woman title after switching to the U.S., won a World Series race in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
She prevailed by two tenths of a second over German Laura Nolte, who won the monobob at the 2016 Youth Olympics. Humphries drove a monobob sled for the first time in her life this week, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton.
“I was very nervous for my first monobob trips,” Humphries said, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton. “It feels like a truck with summer tires on the back and no weight in the truck bed. I didn’t know what to expect going into this race.”
In July 2018, the IOC announced that women’s monobob was one of seven new events added to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic program.
The IOC, seeking to close in on gender balance in the number of events, weighed whether to add four-woman bobsled rather than monobob. The Games already have two-man and two-woman events and a four-man event.
While the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation lobbied for four-woman, IOC sports director Kit McConnell said then that the IBSF was “very supportive” of monobob, in part because it was already on the Youth Olympic program.
“Woman’s four-man bob costs three or four times of monobob,” McConnell said. “We felt there would be more universality in the women’s monobob. We really didn’t see more than a handful of countries really developing women’s four-man programs because of the costs involved.”
Humphries and three-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor (fifth in Saturday’s race) were among the top female drivers who lobbied for the four-woman event.
“To be fair, this is historic in that it adds another discipline for women’s bobsled and that should be celebrated,” Meyers Taylor wrote to fans and friends in a Facebook message in 2018. “Personally it’s a discipline that weighs heavily in my favor as I am one of the fastest pushing pilots in the world. However, I would be remiss if I did not express my disappointment as myself and many others have been laying the groundwork for 4woman. We will keep fighting.”
Also Saturday, German Olympic champion Francesco Friedrich broke a tie with retired countrywoman Sandra Kiriasis for the most World Cup bobsled wins with 47.
Kaillie Humphries wins on debut in Women's Monobob World Series #WomansMonobobworldseries #StMoritz #WomensMonobob pic.twitter.com/4lTtDyCf1N
— IBSF (@IBSFsliding) January 16, 2021
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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