Kaillie Humphries back atop World Cup bobsled podium
Canada's Kaillie Humphries bounced back to win a women's bobsled World Cup event Friday and hand German rival Cathleen Martini her first defeat on the Koenigssee course in three years.
Martini was victorious last week in Altenberg but Humphries — the world and Olympic champion from Calgary — returned to the top of the podium after powering down in snowy conditions for a comfortable win.
Humphries and brakewoman Chelsea Valois of Zenon Park, Sask., have won six of seven races this season. Humphries also extended her record podium streak at international events to 10 with the latest victory.
"I'm aware that what I'm doing is different, but I don't really know yet what it means," Humphries said. "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."
Humphries clocked a time of one minute 43.07 seconds for the two runs, beating Martini by 0.42 seconds.
"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," Humphries said.
Sandra Kiriasis of Germany was third. It was Humphries' 10th career World Cup victory and 18th podium finish as a pilot.
"It is awesome to win anywhere, but extra nice to win in Europe," she said. "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."
American track star Lolo Jones and Jazmine Fenlator were 10th while Edmonton pilot Jenny Ciochetti and Calgary's Kate O'Brien were 17th.
Hollingsworth short of the podium
Noelle Pikus-Pace of the United States, a former world champion, won the women's skeleton race later Friday for her first World Cup win since coming back this season nearly three years after retiring and the birth of her second child.
Canadian Mellisa Hollingsworth was fourth.
World Cup leader Marion Thees was second and fellow German Anja Huber finished third.
Pikus-Pace was in second place in the first heat, 0.03 seconds behind Sarah Reid of Calgary. But the Canadian bungled her second run and dropped to fifth, while the American clocked the fastest second heat to jump to first.
It was her first World Cup win since 2004.
Pikus-Pace was the Olympic favourite heading into the 2006 Turin Games before she was struck by an out-of-control bobsled that sailed past the end of a track, badly breaking one of her legs. She missed those Olympics, finished fourth at the 2010 Vancouver Games, and retired afterward primarily because she wanted to spend more time with her family.
The American posted an aggregate time of 1:47.51, winning by 0.41 seconds. Hollingsworth was fourth in 1:48.19.
World Cup rookie Cassie Hawrysh of Brandon, Man., was 14th.
The event continues Saturday in Germany with men's bobsled and skeleton racing.