Kaillie Humphries and Melissa Lotholz Slide to Silver in Sochi Return
February 14, 2015
—Justin Kripps and Bryan Barnett narrowly miss podium in fourth—
SOCHI, Rus.—Kaillie Humphries and Melissa Lotholz saved their best for last, sliding to the silver medal at the Sanki Sliding Centre in Sochi, Russia on Saturday.
Sitting in third place after her first bomb down the unique 1,500-metre Sochi track that features three tricky uphill sections, the 29-year-old Calgarian put down one of her best runs of the season to jump into the silver medal position with a two-run time of 1:56.09.
“I made a few mistakes on that first run which cost us time, but that second run was good,” said Humphries, who was making her first return to Sochi since winning her second-straight Olympic gold medal nearly one year ago.
The silver completes a medal collection for Humphries in her three trips to Sochi. In addition to her Olympic gold, she also won the bronze medal at the Olympic test event in 2013. It was the first trip to Sochi for Humphries’ 22-year-old rookie brakemen, Melissa Lotholz of Calgary.
“I was very proud of Melissa with our starts today,” added Humphries. “To come here and finish amongst these (Amercian) women is awesome. It is a Happy Valentine’s Day.”
Their best finish of the season, the Canadian duo finished second overall on the World Cup with three bronze and one silver in the eight-race season.
American Elana Meyers-Taylor locked up the overall World Cup title with her sixth victory of the season. Finishing second to Humphries and her Olympic brakeman, Heather Moyse, last year at the Games, the American got some redemption on Saturday. Meyers-Taylor and Cherrelle Garrett cruised to the gold medal with a time of 1:55.48.
Jamie Greubel Poser and Lauren Gibbs, also of the United States, grabbed the bronze medal with a time of 1:56.10.
Canada’s top men’s two-man sled piloted by Justin Kripps also had one of their best races of the season. Kripps, of Summerland, B.C. and Edmonton’s Bryan Barnett took advantage of fast starts and nearly perfect driving to post a fourth-place combined time of 1:53.06.
“We drew number one for the start order and managed to capitalize on the good ice,” said the 28-year-old Kripps. “We had our best two start ranks of the year and two solid drives. This track is really technical and it’s quite different from any other track in the world. It is an amazing facility so I always get excited and it is a real pleasure to slide here.”
The Canadian duo had one podium finish in Konigssee this year, helping put them into seventh in the Overall World Cup standings.
Switzerland’s Peter Rico and Simon Friedli won in the men’s bobsleigh’s return to Sochi. The Swiss duo clocked a golden time of 1:52.33. Latvia’s Oskars Melbardis and Daumants Dreiskens were second at 1:52.46, while Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann, also of Switzerland, were third at 1:52.60.
Calgarian’s Chris Spring and Derek Plug teamed up to finish 14th at 1:54.54, while World Cup rookies, Nick Poloniato of Hamilton and Calgary’s Josh Kirkpatrick, placed 16th at 1:55.52.
The top bobsleigh athletes on the planet will be back at it on Sunday in Russia with the men’s four-man races. The World Championships will take place in Winterberg, Germany in two weeks time.
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