Sports

Kaillie Humphries wins Lou Marsh Award

Two-time Olympic women's bobsled champion Kaillie Humphries has won the Lou Marsh Award as Canada's top athlete of 2014.

Bobsled pilot captured 2nd consecutive Olympic gold

Kaillie Humphries piloted her Canadian sled to its second consecutive Olympic gold at the Sochi Games. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Kaillie Humphries didn't have much time to celebrate.

Moments after learning she had won the 2014 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's top athlete, the 29-year-old bobsled pilot was off to the track for her final practice session ahead of this weekend's season-opening World Cup race.

"Trying to be focused on both of these runs today was probably one of my biggest challenges I've had so far this year," Humphries said Thursday from Lake Placid, N.Y. "It's such an amazing honour and I'm so, so excited to be amongst sport royalty."

The first bobsledder to win the Lou Marsh Trophy, Humphries became the first female in her sport to win back-to-back Olympic gold when she captured her second title in Sochi.

Humphries also carried Canada's flag along with brakeman Heather Moyse into the closing ceremonies in Russia.

"Most of the time you see hockey or football, you see a lot of the top sports (win the award)," said Humphries, who also won her second World Cup title in 2014. "So to be the one to represent a not-as-popular sport is a pretty big honour."

Women's tennis player Eugenie Bouchard, men's tennis player Milos Raonic, Los Angeles Kings defenceman Drew Doughty and lacrosse star Johnny Powless were the other finalists. Calgary Stampeders running back Jon Cornish won the award last year.

Along with her two Olympic gold medals, Humphries has captured 28 World Cup medals and seven world championship medals.

Despite that long list of accomplishments, Humphries said she was surprised to win the trophy that is named after a former Toronto Star sports editor and awarded annually to Canada's top athlete as selected by representatives of country's leading news organizations.

"When you hear the list of athletes that have won it previously you've got (Sidney) Crosby, you've got (Wayne) Gretzky, you've got Donovan Bailey — the list goes on and on," said Humphries. "When I think of myself as an athlete sometimes it's hard to put myself in the same category as the athletes I've grown up watching or knowing about.

"It's shocking for me."

Humphries, who grew up as a competitive skier, but switched sports after breaking a leg in two separate accidents, continues to push the boundaries of bobsledding.

She will pilot a Canadian four-man team in what would have been the men's competition on the World Cup circuit this season. She has long lobbied for the chance to race against men, and the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation decided this year to make the four-man event gender neutral.

Humphries piloted a crew of herself and three male athletes in five races this season to qualify for the World Cup circuit.

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