Road To The Olympic Games

Humphries, Lotholz win national boblsed title

Lonnie Bissonnette became the first ever Canadian Para-bobsled champion on Saturday, while Kaillie Humphries and Justin Kripps piloted their respective sleds to national titles.

Bissonnette wins inaugural Para-bobsled title

Canada's Kaillie Humphries, left, and Melissa Lotholz (pictured in February) enter the upcoming season as national champions. (Tobias Hase/dpa via The Associated Press)

Lonnie Bissonnette became the first ever Canadian Para-bobsled champion on Saturday, while Kaillie Humphries and Justin Kripps piloted their respective sleds to national titles.

Humphries, of Calgary, and her brakeman Melissa Lotholz of Barrhead, Alta., clocked the fastest times in each of their two runs on 14-corner Olympic track in the women's race. Canada's top duo, who are sporting a slick new sled, posted a winning combined time of one minute 56.22 seconds.

"The race today went well and was fun. Right now we are continuing to get that feel for the new sled and it is going well," said Humphries. "Just getting more practice, more sliding and getting a feel for things before the World Cup starts is the goal."

Bissonnette, of St. Catharines, Ont., handily won the inaugural Para-bobsled national championships. Edmonton's Brian McPherson was second, while Calgary's Armando Zavaleta was third.

"In future years when I'm done it will be nice to look back and say I'm the first Para-bobsleigh champion, but right now I really try to focus on each run, and just keep getting better," said the 47-year-old Bissonnette, who was paralyzed while doing a base jump in 2004.

Para-bobsled consists of athletes piloting a mono-bob after being dropped into the track at the crest of the downslope. The International Paralympic Committee provisionally added Para-bobsled into the 2022 Paralympic lineup.

Kripps, of Summerland, B.C., welcomed back Jesse Lumsden, of Burlington, Ont., into his sled to claim the men's two-man title. The Canadian duo put together the top two start and run times for a golden time of 1:53.04.

"Things are going really well for this time of year. We always want to go faster, but things are getting better each day and I'm happy with where I'm at," said Kripps. "It is great to have Jesse back in the program this year. He is such a great team guy and will make a big difference having him with us."

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