ST. MORITZ, Switzerland â€” Canada’s Kaillie Humphries and Melissa Lotholz put down their best performance ever as a team in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Saturday but only earned a silver medal after finishing one-hundredth of a second behind the gold-medal time in two minutes 16.15 seconds.
“I don’t think I have actually ever lost a race by one-hundredth of a second before. I asked the girls ‘is it really bad that I’m mad.’ I think I’d rather lose by more than one-hundredth of a second,” laughed Calgary’s Humphries.
Elana Meyers Taylor and Briauna Jones from the United States climbed two spots in the final heat to win the gold with a time of 2:16.14. The other American team of Jamie Greubel Poser and Lauren Gibbs were third at 2:16.29.
“This stings a bit, but we still came away with the silver. At the end of the day, this is great for women’s bobsleigh. It is great to see the competition on the women’s side so tight. Everyone is pushing so good, and if you aren’t fully on it on the day, you aren’t going to win,” said Humphries. “This will keep us hungry, and it will push us not to become complacent. We will take the positives from this race and not dwell on losing but such a small margin.”
It was the 42nd career World Cup podium for Humphries to go along with her four World Championship and two Olympic medals. She has two victories and a bronze on the St. Moritz track â€” one of those wins coming at the 2013 World Championships.
“Being the birthplace of the sport, it is a really cool place,” said Humphries. “It is a lot more of my driving style. This place brings together the whose who in the world â€” there is no chance I’d ever be here unless I’m with bobsleigh â€” but it is just an amazing place and so cool to see what the track workers do to prepare and shape the track.”
It was the 14th career World Cup podium for Lotholz, of Barrhead, Alta., since hopping into Humphries’ sled three years ago. Her previous best in St. Moritz came last year when they finished third.
“We had the fastest push times today so that was really exciting,” said Lotholz. “Kaillie and I have spent two years chasing these American girls down and to walk away from today with the fastest pushes is very rewarding. Yes we wanted the gold, but when we got to the bottom I was insanely happy knowing I hopped in the sled having pushed well.”
Lotholz and Toronto’s Cynthia Appiah have been splitting starts this season in Canada’s top sled. Lotholz pushed Humphries to gold in Altenberg two weeks ago, and rookie pilot Alyssia Rissling to a fourth-place finish in her World Cup debut at the season-opener in Whistler.
“It has been a complete team effort all year,” said Lotholz. “We, Cynthia and I, have had some really friendly competition going on all year and she played a big role in today’s success as well. Today I just focused on the process and letting things happen.
“It means a lot to get on the podium here in St. Moritz. The track is so much fun to slide on because it is so different than anything else in the world. You just feel like one on the track. It is a bittersweet day for sure.”
The Canadians will all be back on the start line Sunday for the World Cup four-man competition St. Moritz.
On the men’s side, world junior champion Johannes Lochner of Germany raced to his first World Cup victory in a two-man bobsled event on Saturday. Lochner and partner Christian Rasp held their first-run lead to finish 0.28 second ahead of fellow Germans Francesco Friedrich and Martin Grothkopp.
U.S. pilot Steven Holcomb was the fastest in the second run on the Olympia track with partner Carlo Valdes, helping him rise from seventh place to secure third, 0.67 back.
Won Yunjong of South Korea retained his overall standings lead despite finishing ninth on Saturday.
Meyers Taylor topped 140 km/h on the second run to claim the victory, and third place went to American teammates Jamie Greubel Poser and Lauren Gibbs, who trailed by 0.15.
Greubel Poser is second overall and Meyers Taylor is fourth with three races left.
Calgary’s Chris Spring and Edmonton’s Neville Wright (2:12.11) were 14th, Hamilton’s Nick Poloniato and Calgary’s Derek Plug (2:12.46) finished 19th and Justin Kripps of Summerland, B.C., and Jesse Lumsden of Burlington, Ont., (1:06.27 – one run) were 21st.
With files from The Associated Press
The Canadian Press