ST. MORITZ, Sui.—Kaillie Humphries has become like royalty in the world of women’s bobsleigh after successfully defending her World Championship title with Chelsea Valois in St. Moritz, Switzerland on Saturday.
The queens of women’s bobsleigh put the icing on a historic season by busting out a new track record on the fourth and final run to lock up their 12th-straight podium finish with a combined time of four minutes, 30.31 seconds (4:30.31) at the stunning venue where the sport all began.
“I’m ecstatic,” beamed Humphries at the finish line. “Our goal all year was to win World Championships and we did it. This is the perfect end to a great season and to do it in St. Moritz is the ultimate for any bobsledder.
“People don’t understand what this place means to us athletes. It is the birthplace of our sport and the longest track in the world that demands experience and skill so it means the world to me to win the World Championships here.”
Humphries didn’t just win. She destroyed the field as she’s done all year.
Leading by .12 after the first two runs on the opening day by, Calgary’s 27-year-old Humphries and the 25-year-old Valois, of Zenon, Park, Sask., opened up a half-second lead into the fourth and final run down the only non-refrigerated track in the world, and built on it – shattering the field by nearly seven-10ths.
Elana Meyers and Katie Eberling, of the United States, were the next best finishers with their best World Championship result, sliding to the silver medal with a time of 4:30.99. Germany’s Sandra Kiriasis and Franziska Bertels snagged the bronze at 4:31.01.
Edmonton’s Jenny Ciochetti, who pushed Humphries to her first World Championship title in Lake Placid, N.Y. last year, drove the Canada 2 sled to 18th place with Calgary’s Kate O’Brien. The Canadian duo clocked a time of 4:35.14 in their first World Championships together.
The victory for Humphries and Valois on the spectacular 1,700-metre of natural stunning beauty that winds its way to the finish in the town of Celerina adds another chapter in the historic books for the Canadian blonde bombers.
It is the 10th victory for the reigning Olympic Humphries in her last 12 international races dating back nearly one year to the day. Her only two detours on the track to the winner’s circle over the last 12 months were a silver medal last week in Igls, Austria where she missed gold by .01, and a bronze earlier in the month in Altenberg, Germany.
She has welcomed three different brakemen into the Canada 1 Eurotech sled on her remarkable golden run, including Chelsea Valois who got introduced to the sport just this fall.
“We learned last week that ever hundredth-of-a-second matters so we just wanted to focus on pushing as hard as we could and not hold anything back,” said Valois. “I’m overwhelmed. It is feels amazing and has been quite a year for sure.”
It has been nothing short of a dream season for Valois who is the only bobsleigh athlete ever to podium in nine straight races to start her career.
Shattering testing records at recruitment camps this summer, the former track and field athlete at the University of Regina hopped into Humphries sled in October and made an immediate impact. After winning the Canadian Championships in her first competitive race, the flatlander pushed Humphries to gold in their first five World Cup starts – leading Humphries to a record-setting winning streak of eight races.
“I didn’t know what to expect when I came out to that testing camp,” said Valois. “I didn’t know anything about the sport and I just tried to learn as I go. It slowly progressed. I kept working hard and with great people around me I am feeling really comfortable now. It is really amazing.”
“Chelsea has been incredible all year and has worked so hard,” added Humphries. “She has really grown as an athlete. We have such a great support team around us that has helped make this work. We have some of the best sleds in the world with Eurotech, but our whole team is amazing. It is a great atmosphere and all of the athletes on our team support and cheer for each other. When you have that around you, great things can happen.”
The World Championships continue on Sunday in St. Moritz with the final two runs of the men’s two-man race.
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. Kaillie Humphries, Calgary/Chelsea Valois, Zenon Park, Sask., CAN 1, 4:30.31; 2. Elana Meyers/Katie Eberling, USA, 4:30.99; 3. Sandra Kiriasis/Franziska Bertels, GER, 4:31.01; 4. Cathleen Martini/Stephanie Schneider, GER, 4:31.08; 5. Anja Schneiderheinze/Lisette Thone, GER, 4:31.10.
Other Canadian Results:
18. Jenny Ciochetti, Edmonton/Kate O’Brien, Calgary, CAN 2, 4:35.14.