LAKE PLACID, N.Y.—Canada’s Kaillie Humphries can now add the title of World Champion to her impressive women’s bobsleigh resume.
The 26-year-old Calgarian teamed up with Edmonton’s Jenny Ciochetti to win the four-run women’s bobsleigh World Championships in Lake Placid, N.Y. after posting a combined time of 3:48.57 while blasting down the 1,455-metre, 20-corner track in her Canada 1 Eurotech sled.
“It feels amazing. It is another goal accomplished,” beamed Humphries following the flower ceremony. “This means a lot to me. I feel like I’m still growing as a pilot and I try to learn from every experience. I have been working on my consistency and I’m glad it showed here.”
Germany’s Sandra Kiriasis and Petra Lammert clocked a second-place time of 3:48.90 in the Germany 3 sled. Elana Meyers and Katie Eberling grabbed the bronze in the United States 1 sled after posting a time of 3:49.57.
It was the second straight victory for Humphries and Ciochettti, who teamed up last week for the first time ever to win the final World Cup race in Calgary. It was the third consecutive win for Humphries, giving her a golden sweep of the North American races on the elite women’s bobsleigh circuit. Humphries also finished on top in La Plagne, France earlier this year.
Humphries’ golden run in North America began at the Whistler stop three weeks ago – the same week the 27-year-old Ciochetti was piloting the Canada 3 sled for the second time ever on the World Cup.
A brakeman in Helen Upperton’s sled over four seasons leading into the 2010 Olympic year, Ciochetti switched to the drivers seat two years ago. Putting her dreams of driving to the Olympics temporarily on hold, Ciochetti committed to pushing Humphries for the final two races of the year in an effort to give Canada its best shot at a World Championship title.
“It’s definitely tough to move from the driver’s seat to the brakes, but it was for sure worth it,” said Ciochetti. “Emily (Baadsvik) was so gracious in accepting me doing this with Kaillie. It has been a great two weeks. We are now World Champions and it is always sweet to win.”
“Jenny was absolutely amazing,” added Humphries. “She is a brilliant athlete and an amazing person to put her dreams of driving aside and go in the back. We are World Champions together now, and I know she is going to be a great teammate and a tough one to beat in the future.”
At just 26 years of age, Humphries has emerged into one of Canada’s most accomplished women’s bobsleigh pilots. In addition to her World Championship win in Lake Placid, the powerful blonde won Olympic gold in 2010, has four victories – including two bronze in Lake Placid – in her list of 12 podium finishes on the elite circuit.
“I am a little shocked at winning all three races in North America,” said Humphries, who grabbed the bronze at the Worlds last year with Olympic teammate, Heather Moyse. “It all means a lot to me. The season had a different tone at the start, but Emily (Baadsvik) blossomed as an athlete and we won two races together. We had new Eurotech sleds and I didn’t know what to expect, but they are amazing and we just used the momentum we were building in Europe and carried it over to North America.”
Calgary’s Helen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown, of Pickering, Ont., finished just shy of the podium in fifth spot after clocking a four-run time of 3:49.95.
“It is really hard starting in last spot especially at this track, but we had good starts and four good runs,” said Upperton, who had a low start ranking due to racing a condensed season this year. “It is one of those races you walk away confused at the outcome because things did go well.”
The Olympic silver-medal winning duo returned to the World Cup circuit three weeks ago with a bronze-medal victory at the Whistler Sliding Centre bringing her career total to 19 podium finishes. With a plan to take the season off, Upperton and Brown agreed to race a condensed season with the goal of chasing a podium at the World Championships – the only medal absent from the Olympic silver-medal winning pilot Upperton’s mantle.
“We were working to be good at this race and we were,” said Upperton. “Last year I wondered how much better I can get, but because I stayed home I got to work with Pierre (Lueders) and it is amazing how much better he has made me. Getting that opportunity and also now with the new Eurotech sled program in place, you can see the benefits for our entire team. I am very happy for Jenny and Kaillie, and hopefully our guys can also win tomorrow.”
The World Championships continue on Sunday in Lake Placid with the final two runs in the men’s two-man bobsleigh race. Canada’s Lyndon Rush and Jesse Lumsden are on top of the world heading into the final two heats.
Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton is a non-profit organization and the national governing body for the sports of bobsleigh and skeleton in Canada. With the support of its valued corporate partners – VISA, Dow Chemical, Adidas, KBC Helmets, Eurotech – Viking Engineering, SAIT Polytechnic, Therapeutica – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton develops Olympic and world champions. Please visit us at www.bobsleighcanadaskeleton.ca.
Complete Results: www.fibt.com
Top-Five Women’s Bobsleigh Results:
1.Kaillie Humphries, Calgary/Jenny Ciochetti, Edmonton, CAN 1, 3:48.57; 2. Sandra Kiriasis/Petra Lammert, GER 3, 3:48.90; 3. Elana Meyers/Katie Eberling, USA 1, 3:49.57; 4. Cathleen Martini/Franziska Bertels, GER 1, 3:49.82; 5. Helen Upperton, Calgary/Shelley-Ann Brown, Pickering, Ont., CAN 2, 3:49.95