Kaillie Humphries continues winning ways in Park City | ParkRecord.com

Kaillie Humphries continues winning ways in Park City

Olympic gold medalist finishes first in women’s monobob and third in two-woman bobsled

Kaillie Humphries of the United States pilots her way down the track at the Utah Olympic Park on Saturday. Humphries and teammate Jasmine Jones finished third in Saturday's two-woman bobsled event.
David Jackson/Park Record

Kaillie Humphries is no stranger to the podium. 

In the 37-year-old’s decorated bobsled career, Humphries, a five-time world champion, has won 28 gold medals in two-woman World Cup events, led the two-woman overall World Cup standings four times and taken home three Olympic gold medals, including one in women’s monobob in Beijing. 

The IBSF World Cup’s stop in Park City was no different.

Humphries finished first in Friday’s women’s monobob competition and then partnered with Jasmine Jones to come in third in Saturday’s two-woman event. Humphries was coming off the World Cup’s opening event in Whistler, Canada, where she came in third in both monobob and two-woman. The circuit shifts to Lake Placid, New York, next.

“This is our first World Cup together, and (Jones) hasn’t been on tour for the last couple years since having a kid, so it’s really nice to have her back,” Humphries said after Saturday’s two-woman competition. “Definitely a work in progress. I made some mistakes on run one, especially out of corner 10, so I was happy I was able to clean that up for run two. So, the runs weren’t perfect, but I’m really happy with our starts, happy with our drives minus the few little mistakes. It’s a good starting point, and now we’ll look to grow from here.”

What was different, however, was winning a women’s monobob event on the World Cup circuit. Monobob, which made its Olympic debut this year, features one woman in each sled instead of two. The discipline was previously on the Women’s Monobob World Series before officially joining the World Cup schedule this year. 

Humphries finished third in monobob in Whistler, but she would not be denied first place in Park City on Friday. She had the fastest run in the first heat at 51.66 seconds and smashed her own time in the second, clocking in at 51.27 seconds to win gold by just over three-tenths of a second and set a new track record.

“Monobob was awesome,” Humphries said on Saturday. “I definitely drove better yesterday, I think. But it’s always a challenge. The German sleds are world class, very hard to beat. … Overall, it’s a great weekend for sure as a whole.”

Kaillie Humphries pilots her sled through one of the turns at the Utah Olympic Park.
David Jackson/Park Record

The addition of women’s monobob to the World Cup slate is a step toward equality in a couple of facets. For one, it gives women the same number of opportunities to medal as men. The monobobs are also all the same, so no nation has an advantage simply by investing more in the sport.

“I don’t think when it first came out everyone understood the depth of how great it can be,” Humphries said. “But I think it’s opened the sport to a lot more countries, a lot more women as a whole. And globally, I think it’s awesome. The price of the sled is a lot less as well, and with the monobobs being all the same worldwide, you really get to see the talent of the drivers as well as the athleticism in the push because the equipment is equal across the board. It’s not financial how much you’re putting into it, like the two-man or the four-man.”

There’s still work to be done on the equality side, however. The women still don’t have a four-person event, so the men have more athletes competing. The men also don’t race monobobs.

“I think, longterm, what I would love to see is that the men get to do monobob, and the women get to four-man,” Humphries said. “And the sport grows completely as a whole and is equal across the board.”

Humphries missed out on winning two gold medals in as many days after getting edged out by two German sleds in the two-woman event. But it was still a special occasion, as Jones earned her first top-three finish on the World Cup circuit. 

“I’m thankful, especially, again, opportunity is the main thing,” Jones said. “I just feel blessed to have my first World Cup podium. I’m screaming on the inside. I may not show it, but I’m jumping for joy because I’m just that excited and happy to have this accomplishment.”

Coach Shauna Rohbock saw her old track record finally fall during the two-woman event. While it was Germany’s Kim Kalicki and Leonie Fiebig who toppled it and not Humphries and Jones as she had hoped, Rohbock complimented Humphries’ start to the season.

“It’s great, and it’s expected, to be honest,” Rohbock said. “I was there as well, you’re just expected. She knows, it’s a weight on her shoulders. But as the years go on, it’s something that you just, it’s there and you take it along with you and you carry that team.”

The Lake Placid stop is the last one in North America and in 2022, and then attention will turn to the European legs and the world championships in January and February. Rohbock has heavy expectations for Humphries.

“Going into the season, our goal is to have Kaillie win those world championships,” Rohbock said. “Leading up to that and going into those World Cups, obviously she’s an older athlete. I ended up 35 when I retired, and you have to be smart about the training runs and how you go about them. Kaillie’s done this long enough, so we listen to her and how she’s feeling with her body and give us feedback. So, when she goes into world championships, she feels the most energized.”


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