Canadians contending for medals in women’s bobsleigh

Kaillie Humphries and her breakman Heather Moyse are sitting in first place after the opening two heats of women’s doubles bobsleigh at Whistler Sliding Centre, Tuesday.

The duo set a track record on their first run of 53.19 seconds, and then beat that record with a second heat clocked at 53.05, reaching speeds of 146.9 km/h unmatched by any of the competition.

The Canada 1 team of Humphries and Moyse currently holds a 0.13 second lead over the combined time set by second place U.S.A. 2 (Erin Pac and Elana Meyers), as well as 0.40 margin on Germany 2 (Cathleen Martini and Romy Logsch) who sit in third.

However, with numerous clean runs, and the top 14 teams all within one second of the Canadians, it’s anyone’s race and the track record could very well fall again.

“I think I can [break it again], actually. And I plan to do that tomorrow,” Humphries told CTV. “Why not?”

It may take that kind of performance to stay on the podium, with many powerhouse teams nipping on the Canadians heels, including three different American and German pairings sitting in the top eight respectively.

Helen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown of Canada 2 are the only other Canadian team in that top eight, and sit in fourth, 0.42 off the pace of their teammates, and only 0.02 out third spot.

At the last Olympic Games in Turin, Upperton (with Moyse as brakeman) came fourth, missing a bronze medal by just 0.05.

Her Canada 2 sled had been in fifth after heat 1 Tuesday, but broke Humphries and Moyse record on their second run, only to see U.S.A. 2 beat their time. But, Canada 1 had the final say on their second heat.

If either Canadian team is to win gold, they will rely on a good start out of the gate.

“We will keep trying to get the fast starts,” Upperton told CTV. “We gotta stay focused and put down two good runs tomorrow.”

Along with the track record, Canada 1 had the day’s best start time of 5.12 seconds in their first run, and hope to continue that trend.

Veteran pilot Humphries stressed to CTV the importance of of focusing on their race, and not the distraction of the crowd,  or times of competitors.

“I’m not worried about other people, strictly about our runs, and what we can do to better each one,” she said. “We’re focusing on blasting the start as hard as we can, and I think we did a great job of it today.”

Heats three and four are Wednesday, with the combined times of all four runs determining the winner.