Canada’s Kaillie Humphries and Chelsea Valois Bonded by Bobsleigh Gold at World Cup Opener in Lake Placid
November 9, 2012
—Lyndon Rush and Jesse Lumsden top three Canadian men’s sleds in seventh—
LAKE PLACID, N.Y.—Canada’s Kaillie Humphries and rookie brakeman Chelsea Valois got the pre-Olympic bobsleigh season off to a perfect start by shattering the field to win gold in Lake Placid, N.Y. on Friday.
Calgary’s 27-year-old Humphries returned to the Lake Placid Track where she capped off a stellar end to last season when she became the first Canadian woman to be crowned World Champion with Edmonton’s Jenny Cicohetti on her brakes.
A new season, and a new brakeman, but Humphries will leave New York with the same impressive golden result. The 2010 Olympic champ slid her Eurotech sled into the winner’s circle after clocking the fastest time in both heats to post a time of 1:54.86.
“This is a great way to start the season and I’m happy to walk away with the win,” said Humphries, who continued her golden streak after winning the final three races last year, ”We had a few issues today so there is lots of room for improvement, but Chelsea continues to show so much potential. I am very happy with the setup of our Eurotech sled. It was just a really good start today, and I am looking forward to keeping things going.”
It was the fifth victory for Humphries, bringing the blonde bomber’s World Cup medal total to 13. In addition to winning the World Championships on the punishing 1,455-metre icy chute, which meanders its way down Mount Van Hoevenberg in the Adirondacks, Humphries also has two World Cup bronze medals in Lake Placid.
“There are a few tracks that like me better than most. I learned to drive here in Lake Placid so I think we have special bond,” said Humphries. “It is a drivers track and that is what I love about it. But I think there is some extra comfort racing in North America where everything is a little more familiar.”
The victory was nothing short of overwhelming for Chelsea Valois given it was the brakeman’s first World Cup race. The 25-year-old farm girl from Zenon Park, Sask., who has only a handful of descents down tracks in Calgary, Whistler and Lake Placid over the last six weeks, tried out for the Canadian bobsleigh program this summer by the encouragement of her track and field teammates at the University of Regina. She quickly made an impact, catching the eyes of program officials after equaling some of the best-ever push-testing results for a rookie in her first camp this summer.
Valois earned her way onto the World Cup squad and into the Canada 1 sled with Humphries.
“I think I’m still overwhelmed. When we crossed the line I didn’t know what was going on. I figured we’d won because Kaillie was smacking me on my helmet and everyone was surrounding me. It was pretty amazing,” laughed Valois.
“I was pretty nervous and was shaking on the starting block. The nerves were similar to how I felt before track events, but this was different because now I’m on a team and didn’t want to let Kaillie down. I just wanted to push hard and let her take it from there. I’m very happy with the result.”
The Canadian duo was sandwiched on the podium between two American sleds. Jazmine Fenlator and Lolo Jones won the silver medal, nearly one-half second behind the Canadians, with a time of 1:55.33 in the USA 3 sled. The USA 1 team of Elana Meyers and Tianna Madison claimed third spot at 1:55.34.
Competing in her first full season as a pilot on the World Cup, Jenny Ciochetti teamed up with Calgary’s Kate O’Brien in the Canada 2 sled to finish in 11th spot at 1:56.15.
The men’s two-man bobsleigh race capped off an exciting Friday in New York state where the Canada 1 team of Lyndon Rush and Jesse Lumsden finished seventh. Rush, of Humboldt, Sask., and Lumsden, of Burlington, Ont., who won the silver medal at the World Championships on the Lake Placid track last year, clocked a time of 1:52.58.
Steven Holcomb and Steven Langton teamed up in the USA 1 sled to post a winning time of 1:51.75. Cory Butner and Charles Berkeley claimed the silver in the USA 3 sled at 1:52.35, while Germany’s Francesco Friedrich and Gino Gerhardi grabbed the bronze medal with a time of 1:52.44.
Calgary’s Chris Spring piloted the Canada 2 sled in his first World Cup race since suffering a season-ending injury in a crash last January. Spring, and rookie brakeman, Ben Coakwell of Saskatoon, placed 13th at 1:52.85. Competing in his first full season as a pilot on the World Cup, Justin Kripps rounded out the top-15. Kripps, of Summerland, B.C., teamed up with former CFL player, Nick Carriere, of Rockland, Ont., to post a 15th-place time of 1:53.15.
A replay of the women’s bobsleigh race can be viewed on Sportsnet ONE on November 10 at 6 p.m. EST. The men’s two-man bobsleigh race will be replayed on Sportsnet ONE, November 10 at 11 p.m. EST, and again on November 11 at 12 midnight.
The World Cup continues on Saturday in Lake Placid, N.Y., with the men’s four-man bobsleigh 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. Humphries, Calgary/Valois, Zenon Park, Sask., CAN 1, 1:54.86; 2. Fenlator/Jones, USA 3, 1:55.33; 3. Meyers/Madison, USA 1, 1:55.34; 4. Hengster/Versen, AUT 1, 1:55.35; 5. Kiriasis/Wiacker, GER 2, 1:55.45
Other Canadian Results:
11. Ciochetti, Edmonton/O’Brien, Calgary, CAN 2, 1:56.15
Top-Five Two-Man Bobsleigh Results:
1. Holcomb/Langton, USA 1, 1:51.75; 2. Butner/Berkeley, USA 3, 1:52.35; 3. Friedrich/Gerhardi, GER 3, 1:52.44; 4. Machata/Poser, GER 1, 1:52.49; 5. Cunningham, Drbal, USA 2, 1:52.50.
7. Rush, Humboldt, Sask./Lumsden, Burlington, Ont., CAN 1, 1:52.58; 13. Spring, Calgary/Coakwell, Saskatoon, CAN 2, 1:52.85; 15. Kripps, Summerland, B.C./Carreire, Rockland, Ont., CAN 3, 1:53.15