Kaillie Humphries claims 1st monobob world title

Kaillie Humphries ended her international racing season Sunday by rallying to win the inaugural women's monobob world championship in Altenberg, Germany, adding that gold medal to the one she and Lolo Jones combined to claim on the same track last weekend.

Bobsleigh pilot, now competing for U.S., wins 4-run event by huge margin

Bobsleigh pilot Kaillie Humphries of the United States reacts at the finish line after taking first place during the women's monobob race at the world championships in Altenberg, Germany, Sunday. (Matthias Schrader/The Associated Press)

Kaillie Humphries wasn't sure if she would get a chance to race this season.

She ended up on top of the world — twice.

Humphries ended her international racing season Sunday by rallying to win the inaugural women's monobob world championship in Altenberg, Germany, adding that gold medal to the one she and Lolo Jones combined to claim on the same track last weekend.

And now, there is no question about who the gold-medal favourite is going into the Olympic season, with two medal events awaiting at next winter's Beijing Games for the first time.

WATCH | Humphries roars to monobob gold:

Kaillie Humphries wins monobob’s world championships debut

1 year ago
Duration 3:02
The U.S. representative completes a sweep of the women’s events at the world championships by winning her third straight monobob race.
"To be able to end on a high, I really just continue to think that I am so grateful to be here," Humphries said. "To be representing the United States and to be able to compete is such a huge honour. And I'm excited to go home and see my husband and my dog."

Moments later, she hopped atop the medal stand amid a backdrop of snow-covered evergreen trees, wrapped herself in the American flag, then put her right hand over her heart as the sounds of "The Star-Spangled Banner" cut through the frosty air.

It was her fifth world championship, her third in as many tries since getting her release from the Canadian program and beginning to slide for the United States in 2019. If Humphries — a two-time Olympic gold medallist who is married to an American and now calls San Diego home — is going to race for the U.S. in next winter's Beijing Games, she needs to obtain citizenship in the coming months.

"She's the best driver in the world," longtime bobsleigh analyst John Morgan said as Humphries was finishing off her gold-medal performance Sunday.

Humphries' final time for four runs over two days was three minutes, 59.62 seconds — a half-second better than anyone else. She had the fastest time in each of the final three heats, finishing in style with a track-record time of 59.47 seconds in the final run to clinch the gold.

"I'm so happy," Humphries said. "That was one of my better runs. We just saved the best for last."

Germany and Canada had sleds finishing in the next six spots behind Humphries, with the Germans grabbing silver and bronze. Stephanie Schneider, the leader after Saturday's first two heats, finished second in 4:00.12. Laura Nolte faltered in the final heat, taking third in 4:00.42.

Mariama Jamanka was fourth for Germany, followed by Canada's Cynthia Appiah in fifth, Germany's Kim Kalicki in sixth and Canada's Melissa Lotholz seventh.

WATCH | Cynthia Appiah finishes 5th at worlds:

Toronto's Cynthia Appiah finishes 5th at monobob world championships

1 year ago
Duration 2:16
The Canadian continues her breakout season with an impressive fifth place finish in Altenberg, Germany.
On average, those six German and Canadian sleds were 1.43 seconds behind Humphries. In sliding, that margin is enormous.]

"Kaillie, she's the best in the world, hands-down, one of the best pilots in the world, men or women, taking the bobsled down the hill," U.S. assistant coach Brian Shimer said. "No question."

Elana Meyers Taylor was 15th for the U.S., her medal hopes dashed by a first-heat crash on Saturday.

Canadian men slide to 5th, 10th

Like Humphries, Germany's Francesco Friedrich won double gold at worlds, capping off an easy four-man win later Sunday in 3:35.02. It's the fifth consecutive year that he has swept the two- and four-man gold at either the world championships or Olympics, and his 11th world championship overall.

WATCH | Friedrich breezes to another 4-man world title:

Francesco Friedrich grabs another gold, takes 4-man title at world bobsleigh championships

1 year ago
Duration 2:41
The dominant German adds yet another gold to his mantle taking the 4-man bobsleigh championship in his backyard of Altenberg, Germany.
The Austrian sled driven by Benjamin Maier was second in 3:35.81, and the German sled driven by Johannes Lochner was third in 3:36.53.

Justin Kripps of Summerland, B.C. piloted the top Canadian sled to fifth place in 3.36.95, 1.93 seconds behind Friedrich. Cam Stones, Ben Coakwell and Ryan Sommer are the other team members.

WATCH | Kripps, teammates fall shy of podium in 4-man race:

Justin Kripps finishes 4-man in 5th at bobsleigh world championships in Germany

1 year ago
Duration 2:08
The Canadian sled is still ironing out kinks after a late season start. Despite being behind the field Kripps leads Canada to just two spots shy of the worlds podium.

"We put up a good fight, but I just made too many mistakes in the track," said Kripps. "This is still one of my best results in four-man here, and I learned a lot about how to drive four-man in Altenberg [Germany] when the track is fast like this."

Calgary's Chris Spring guided his sled to 10th among 19 finishers, clocking 3:38.12 along with Chris Patrician, Mike Evelyn and Mark Mlakar.

Sunday marked the end of the major international sliding season for the U.S., counting all three sports — bobsled, skeleton and luge. The U.S. teams won 18 medals on the top international sliding circuits this winter, all by women. All five of Humphries' medals were gold.

The U.S. wasn't sure until December if it would be going overseas to compete in any events. These world championship races for bobsled and skeleton were to have been held in Lake Placid, New York over the past two weeks — then moved to Germany because of the pandemic and amid questions about how, or if, international sliders would be able to come to the U.S.

The American teams wound up skipping the first half of the season while determining if their sliders could compete in Europe safely. They figured it out in time, and once Humphries got rolling over the past three weeks including the World Cup finale and last weekend's women's bobsled title race, she was unstoppable.

"A historic day," Humphries said. "I am super pumped."

With files from CBC Sports

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