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When she topped the podium at Sochi 2014, Canada’s Kaillie Humphries became the first woman to win two Olympic bobsleigh golds.
Kaillie Humphries began her international career as a brakewoman, earning a place in the Canada team for Turin 2006. After parading with the rest of the delegation at the opening ceremony, her dreams of competing were dashed when she was informed by team management that she would not be taking part. “I just started crying and went to my room. I thought, ‘Do I stay here and gain experience or do I go home?’” she said. “I decided to stay and support my team by cheering them on. I thought I couldn’t let that be my Olympic experience, so that was when I made the decision to become a bobsleigh pilot.”
Humphries began training with brakewoman Heather Moyse and it was not long before impressive results started to come their way on the world tour. After winning their first FIBT World Cup race at Altenberg in December 2009, they headed to Vancouver 2010 ranked second in the world. On board Canada 1, Humphries and Moyse swept the rest of the field aside, beating the Whistler Sliding Centre start and track records in each of the first three runs to claim a convincing gold. In becoming the first Canadian woman to win an Olympic bobsleigh title and the first Canadian to win two-man gold, Humphries also secured what was only her country’s second ever bobsleigh gold, 46 years on from Peter Kirby, Doug Anakin and John and Vic Emery’s win in the four-man event at Innsbruck.
The Calgary pilot went on to become the world No1, a status she would retain with various partners. After Moyse moved on, Humphries won the 2011-12 World Cup title with Emily Baadsvik, and then teamed up with Jennifer Ciochetti to land the world title in Lake Placid in February 2012. The following season, this time partnered by Chelsea Valois, she scored an incredible six consecutive World Cup wins, a feat she capped by retaining her world title in St Moritz in January 2013.
In the meantime, Humphries also represented her country at the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup and competed in international track cycling events before undergoing hip surgery in 2012. She was reunited with Moyse at the start of the 2013-14 season, with the pair gradually finding their form before delivering a stunning performance at Sochi 2014. Trailing the US pair Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams going into the fourth and final run, the Canadians produced a scintillating descent to pip their rivals by 0.10 seconds and become the first duo ever to retain the Olympic two-woman title.