Kaillie Humphries

Kaillie Humphries
AP

Kaillie Humphries grabs another win as U.S. bobsled driver

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LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — Kaillie Humphries’ first two races for the U.S. could not have turned out better.

Humphries improved to 2-for-2 on the young season, winning another women’s bobsled World Cup race at Mount Van Hoevenberg on Saturday. The former top Canadian driver who joined the U.S. program earlier this year teamed with Lauren Gibbs to finish two runs in 1 minute, 54.03 seconds.

It was Humphries’ first time winning back-to-back golds since January 2016, and the first time any women’s driver has opened a season with two straight wins since Elana Meyers Taylor of the U.S. prevailed in the first three events of the 2014-15 season.

Germany’s Kim Kalicki drove to the silver medal in 1:54.18, or 0.15 seconds behind Humphries. Canada got the bronze, with Christine De Bruin getting her sled across the line in 1:54.25. Brittany Reinbolt was the next-best U.S. finisher after Humphries, teaming with Sylvia Hoffman to place eighth in 1:55.28.

Earlier Saturday, Canada’s Justin Kripps won the season’s opening World Cup four-man bobsled race, prevailing at Mount Van Hoevenberg for the second consecutive year.

Kripps and his team of Ryan Sommer, Cameron Stones and Benjamin Coakwell finished two runs in 1 minute, 49.50 seconds. Latvia’s sled driven by Oskars Kibermanis was second in 1:49.89 and Austria’s Benjamin Maier drove to the bronze in 1:49.97.

It was only the second time in the last 17 World Cup four-man races that Germany failed to medal — the other being last year, also in Lake Placid. The top German finish in four-man was a tie for fourth between drivers Francesco Friedrich and Johannes Lochner.

The sled driven by Codie Bascue was sixth to lead the U.S. contingent. There is a second four-man race in Lake Placid on Sunday, after last weekend’s opening event of the season saw two two-man races and none of the four-man variety.

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Kaillie Humphries wins in first bobsled World Cup since country switch

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Kaillie Humphries’ World Cup bobsled debut for the United States was a winning one.

The former Canadian bobsled star won the season opener Saturday, posting the fastest time in both heats in Lake Placid, N.Y., for her 23rd World Cup victory — and her first for the U.S.

Humphries teamed with Lauren Gibbs to finish two runs in 1 minute, 53.48 seconds.

“I’ve been through a lot emotionally over the last year, so knowing I have the skill to focus and turn it on when I need to builds confidence,” said Humphries, who won two Olympic golds for Canada. “I can rely on my teammates and they trust me back. Some things aren’t perfect, but I’m a high-performing athlete and there will always be things I want to improve on.”

That might be bad news for the rest of the women’s bobsled circuit. Humphries showed no rust whatsoever in her first World Cup race in nearly two years.

The event Saturday was Humphries’ first major international race since she won the bronze for Canada at the PyeongChang Olympics. She sat out last season after filing a complaint with Canadian officials and saying she no longer felt safe in that nation’s program.

She gained her release to join the U.S. team in September and competed in a pair of North American Cup races last month.

Germany’s Stephanie Schneider drove to the silver, and Germany also got the bronze in the sled piloted by Kim Kalicki. Schneider was nearly one-third of a second behind Humphries, Kalicki nearly a half-second back. In bobsled, those are significant margins.

“This feels fantastic to start the season so strong,” Humphries said. “It’s a great way to start this next chapter. The team has been so supportive and there’s been an incredible team effort this week to make this win happy today. I’m feeling really happy and proud.”

Humphries learned to drive on the Lake Placid track, and has had enormous success there. She’s now won nine major international medals on that track — five golds, including the 2012 World Championship, along with a silver and three bronzes.

She gets a chance to add to her total next weekend, when the second World Cup race of the season is also held there. Lake Placid is hosting two World Cups this season because the planned opener in Park City, Utah, had to be moved because of mechanical problems at the 2002 Olympic track.

Also for the U.S., the sled driven by Brittany Reinbolt and pushed by Sylvia Hoffman was seventh — exactly one second behind Humphries. Hoffman is scheduled to push for Humphries next weekend.

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Kaillie Humphries kicks off U.S. bobsled career, easily clinches World Cup spot

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Two-time Olympic bobsled gold medalist Kaillie Humphries, who switched her allegiance from Canada to the United States in September, finished second and first in two North American Cup races this week to clinch her spot on the U.S. team’s roster for the upcoming World Cup season.

The North American Cup races at Lake Placid, N.Y., doubled as U.S. team trials after track issues forced the cancellation of trials last week at Utah Olympic Park. Brittany Reinbolt and Lauren Gibbs had already clinched their spots on the six-woman team by winning the U.S. championship in March.

On Tuesday, Humphries and Gibbs finished second in Humphries’ first competition since the 2018 Olympics, where she won bronze. She had a bumpy entrance to the sled in her first run and trailed former Canadian teammate Christine de Bruin by 0.32 seconds, then was unable to make up the margin despite having the fastest time in the second run.

On Wednesday, Humphries and Sylvia Hoffman had the fastest start and fastest time in each run, easily outrunning de Bruin by a combined 0.54 seconds.

Reinbolt and Gibbs were fourth on Tuesday and third on Wednesday, just ahead of fellow Americans Kristi Joplin and Jasmine Jones in each race.

In the men’s competition, which had only three pilots in action, U.S. champion Codie Bascue and Josh Williamson won the first two-man bobsled race on Monday, finishing ahead of Canadian gold medalist Justin Kripps. Bascue injured his hamstring in the second two-man race and didn’t compete in the four-man races.

Hunter Church and Blaine McConnell took third in one of the two-man races. Church then took second and third in the four-man races.

Skeleton athletes already had their trials but also competed in the North American Cup, where four-time Olympian and 2012 world champion Katie Uhlaender rebounded from narrowly missing the World Cup squad to win her first two international races since the 2018 Olympics.

The U.S. teams for the World Cups:

WOMEN 

Pilots: Reinbolt (USA 1), Humphries (USA 2), Joplin (USA 3)

Push athletes: Gibbs, Hoffman, Jones

MEN

Pilots: Bascue (USA 1), Church (USA 2), Geoff Gadbois (USA 3)

Push athletes: Williamson, McConnell, Adrian Adams, Chris Avery, Michael Fogt, Kris Horn, Dakota Lynch, Jimmy Reed, Kyle Wilcox

The World Cup series begins Dec. 7-8 in Lake Placid.

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