KONIGSSEE, Ger.—Canada’s Kaillie Humphries and Chelsea Valois were back on top of the World Cup women’s bobsleigh podium on Friday in Konigssee, Germany.
Calgary’s Humphries and Valois, of Zenon Park, Sask., extended their podium streak into double digits after winning for an unprecedented ninth time in the last 10 international starts. The Canada 1 sled destroyed the field with a two-run time of 1:43.07 down the 14-corner track.
“I felt great warming up. We had two great starts today and I had two decent runs with no major mistakes so everything worked out really well today and it is sweet to win again,” said Humphries following her 10th World Cup victory and 18th podium finish of her career as a pilot.
The Canadian duo shared the podium with two German sleds. Cathleen Martini, who ended Humphries’ winning streak at eight last week, and Janine Tischler were second at 1:43.49, while Sandra Kiriasis and Berit Wiacker slid into the bronze medal position with a time of 1:43.61.
Humphries’ golden run started nearly one year ago in Whistler with Emily Baadsvik on the brakes. After a victory in Calgary to round out the World Cup season with Jenny Ciochetti, the newly-formed duo traveled to Lake Placid the following week, and put their names in the history books as the first Canadian women to win the World Championships in bobsleigh.
Now a full-time bobsleigh pilot on the World Cup, Edmonton’s Ciochetti finished 17th on Friday with Calgary’s Kate O’Brien at 1:44.75.
Humphries picked up the pre-Olympic season where she left off last year – on top of the podium – only this time with a newcomer to the sport in Chelsea Valois.
Shattering testing records at recruitment camps this summer, the former track and field athlete, Valois, hopped into Humphries sled this fall and made an immediate impact. After winning the Canadian Championships in her first competitive race, Valois pushed Humphries to gold in their first five World Cup starts. The only bump in the track for the blonde-haired bobsledders in seven starts this year, and over the last 10 races for Humphries, was a bronze-medal finish last weekend in Altenberg, Germany.
“It feels very nice to be back on top today. It is always the goal to win and do our best so we can be on top, but sometimes you can’t control things like the weather last week,” said the 27-year-old Humphries, whose last three victories last season and first three this year all came in North America.
“It is awesome to win anywhere, but extra nice to win in Europe,” added Humphries. “Winning in North America is one thing, but it is a different stage winning in Europe because you are away from home, not as comfortable, and we have so little time to train on these tracks. Winning here tells me I am one of the top pilots in the world.”
Germany’s Sandra Kiriasis held the previous record for longest winning streak of six straight races that Humphries topped in December. No athlete has reached the podium 10 consecutive times.
“I’m aware that what I’m doing is different, but I don’t really know yet what it means,” said Humphries. “You dream of winning like this, or being an Olympic champion, but when it actually happens it is completely different feeling than what you thought it would be.
“It is a great feeling though to know that I am in amongst the names of some of the best athletes, but I still feel there is room to improve, and lots that I still want to achieve in the sport.”
Speaking of great names in the sliding sport world, Canada’s Mellisa Hollingsworth was back on track charging for the podium in women’s skeleton racing Friday afternoon in Konigssee.
The two-time World Cup champion, and Olympic bronze medallist, powered her way through the heavy snow plummeting down on the 1,250-metre track to clock a fourth-place combined time of 1:48.19.
Sitting in first place after the opening heat, Calgary’s 25-year-old Reid was hunting down her second World Cup victory and fourth podium of the season, but dropped into fifth place at 1:48.41 after clocking the 11th-fastest second run.
Noelle Pikus-Pace, of the United States, stormed to the top of the podium with a golden time of 1:47.51. Germany’s Marion Thees was second at 1:47.92. Anja Huber, also of Germany, rounded out the podium in third with a time of 1:48.03.
Hollingsworth chalked up her third and final top-six finish needed this year on the World Cup to be considered for the 2014 Olympic squad. It was the fourth top-six finish for Reid during her breakout season. Both athletes need one more top-six finish next season on the World Cup to punch their tickets to Sochi.
World Cup rookie, Cassie Hawrysh of Brandon, Man., was the only other Canadian in the field and finished 14th at 1:49.60.
The World Cup continues on Saturday in Germany with men’s bobsleigh and skeleton racing.
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 – Dow Chemical, Adidas, KBC Helmets, Eurotech – Viking Engineering, SAIT Polytechnic, Conceptum Sport Logistics, 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. Humphries, Calgary/Valois, Zenon Park, Sask., CAN 1, 1:43.07; 2. Martini/Tischler, GER, 1:43.49; 3. Kiriasis/Wiacker, GER, 1:43.61; 4. Kamphuis/Vis, NED, 1:43.62; 5. Meyer/Huwiler, SUI, 1:43.65.
Other Canadian Results:
17. Ciochetti, Edmonton/O’Brien, Calgary, CAN 2, 1:44.75
Top-Five Women’s Skeleton Results:
1. Noelle Pikus-Pace, USA, 1:47.51; 2. Marion Thees, GER, 1:47.92; 3. Anja Huber, GER, 1:48.03; 4. Mellisa Hollingsworth, Eckville, Alta., CAN, 1:48.19; 5. Sarah Reid, Calgary, CAN, 1:48.41.
Other Canadian Results:
14. Cassie Hawrysh, Brandon, Man., 1:49.60