Kaillie Humphries is halfway to becoming the first woman to win four world bobsled titles. Lolo Jones is halfway to winning her first.
The driver Humphries and push athlete Jones lead by a significant .34 of a second over Germans Kim Kalicki and Ann-Christin Strack after the first two of four runs at worlds in Altenberg, Germany, on Friday.
Fellow Americans Elana Meyers Taylor, who had son Nico during last year’s worlds, and Sylvia Hoffman are in fourth, four tenths out of bronze position.
The final two runs are Saturday morning, live on OlympicChannel.com. A full TV and live stream schedule is here.
Humphries, the 2010 and 2014 Olympic champion for Canada, switched to the U.S. before last season after filing verbal abuse and harassment claims against a Canadian program coach, saying she no longer felt safe.
She won her third world title last February to tie retired German Sandra Kiriasis‘ female record and is now within sight of holding it herself.
“I made some mistakes today that I can clean up tomorrow,” Humphries, who is married to an American but not yet eligible for the U.S. Olympic team while in the citizenship process, said, according to USA Bobsled and Skeleton. “I want to make it as challenging for my competitors as they make it for me.”
Jones, one of 10 U.S. athletes to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympics, is in position for the most prestigious title of her career on either type of track — a sprinting oval or an icy bobsled chute.
The 38-year-old, who clipped the penultimate hurdle while leading the 2008 Olympic 100m hurdles final in Beijing (also site of the 2022 Winter Olympics), owns two world indoor 60m hurdles titles and a mixed-gender team event bobsled gold. But those disciplines aren’t on the Olympic program.
Jones is competing in international bobsled this season for the first time since missing the 2018 Olympic team. She made the national team off three weeks of bobsled training, returning after participating in an MTV reality show following the Tokyo Games postponement to 2021.
“I wondered if I would even have a chance to be able to crack into the circle with no proper prep,” was posted on Jones’ Instagram before the season. “I communicated to the coaches and driver my concern about returning in such a unprepared state. But I said eff it. I’ve faced bigger odds than this so regardless of training or prep I’m going to try to make this team.”
Jones thought she was done bobsledding in 2018, returning to focus on hurdles. Then Humphries direct messaged her about returning to the U.S. team. Now they’re on the brink of historic feats, and if everything works out over the next year, could make more history if paired together in Beijing.
“In 2008, I was winning that race, and I hit a hurdle and it costs me Olympic gold,” Jones said before the season. “Nothing would mean more to me than to face my fears of 12 years of being ridiculed for not getting an Olympic medal, to going back to the same place where everybody said I blew it, everybody called me a failure all these years, and being successful.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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