On every visit to the World Cup podium this season the focus for Kaillie Humphries has been the same — winning women’s bobsleigh gold at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.
The Calgarian pilot of Canada-1 finished second overall at the World Cup and will team up with pusher Heather Mosye, of Summerside, P.E.I., to become Canada’s top hope on the track.
“Every time I get on the podium, it’s just more confirmation that I know I can do it,” Humphries, 24, told the Calgary Herald. “At the end of the day, I still have to do my job, I have to push as hard as I can, have amazing starts with Heather and drive as well as I can.”
Helen Upperton, also from Calgary, will pilot Canada’s second sled along with pusher Shelley-Ann Brown, of Pickering, Ont. Upperton ranks fifth in the world, and will try to improve on Torino’s 2006 fourth place performance.
Canada’s women’s team will have in German Sandra Kiriasis their most fierce competition.
Kiriasis, gold medalist in Torino and current world champion, has won the overall two-woman bobsleigh World Cup seven times and has a record of 38 race wins.
Leuders has a tough road
On the men’s side, Pierre Lueders, the most decorated slider in Canadian history with two Olympic medals and seven World Championship podiums, will participate in his fifth Winter Games.
The Edmontonian will ride the two-man sled with CFL star running back Jesse Lumsden, also of Edmonton.
Olympic rookies Neville Wright of Edmonton and Justin Kripps of Summerland, B.C. will join Lueders and Lumsden in the four-man bobsleigh event.
“They bring a lot of professionalism, they’ve all competed in big events, and they are more than willing to give whatever they need to, to be successful no matter what position we’re putting them in,” said Lueders, of his teammates in an interview with CTV.
Lueders is battling back from a groin injury suffered just before Christmas.
Lyndon Rush, of Humboldt, Sask., will be driving the other Canadian sled along with Calgarian pusher Lascelles Brown, and together they’ve had a strong season.
The 29-year-old, who will compete in his first Olympics, finished sixth overall in the two-man circuit.
David Bissett of Edmonton and Chris Le Bihan of Calgary will complete Rush’s sled in the four-man competition.
Andre Lange is the favourite coming into the Games and the man to beat in both categories. The German pilot has won three Olympic golds and 14 medals at the World Championships.
The bobsleigh events will be held between the 20th and 27th of February at the Whistler Sliding Centre, located 125 kilometres north of Vancouver.