ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — Canada’s Kaillie Humphries won a women’s World Cup bobsled race on Saturday with a dazzling second run, rallying from being only 10th-fastest at the midpoint of the competition.
Humphries and Heather Moyse were significantly faster than all other sleds in that second run, posting a final time of 2 minutes, 16.96 seconds to not only win but take over the season-long points lead. Humphries’ second-run time was 1:08.15, 0.66 seconds better than her opening trip.
From there, nine more sleds had a chance to catch Humphries, the reigning Olympic gold medalist — and everyone fell short. Cathleen Martini and Christin Senkel were second for Germany in 2:17.14, 0.01 ahead of bronze medalists Fabienne Meyer and Tanja Mayer of Switzerland.
No U.S. women’s sled medaled, the first time this season that’s happened. Jamie Gruebel and Emily Azevedo were second after the first heat, but finished fourth, one-tenth of a second away from the podium.
“Heather pushed amazing today, and that’s what kept us afloat,” Humphries said. “She had confidence in me. I came back and tried to drive the very best run I could and it was good enough for today.”
That was part of a difficult day for the U.S. women, who had only one sled outside of the top 10 in World Cup competition all season entering Saturday — and had two sleds finish in the bottom half of the field at St. Moritz.
Elana Meyers struggled in her first run, then rebounded in her second run but still finished in only a tie for 12th with brakeman Aja Evans. Jazmine Fenlator and Katie Eberling were 17th for the Americans.
Humphries now has 1,237 points in the World Cup season standings, 29 more than Meyers and 43 better than Greubel.
“I’m frustrated,” Greubel said. “We set a really high standard at the beginning of the season, so it’s hard not meeting that. Fourth is a pretty good place to be, but I’m still disappointed.”
It was the next-to-last race before the Americans will choose the six women who will compete in the Sochi Olympics next month, with the drama there expected to be how the U.S. will decide which three push athletes to put on the roster. Summer Olympic veterans Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams remain in contention for spots and are likely to be back in sleds next weekend at Igls, Austria.
And for the U.S. men, the struggles in Europe continued in Saturday’s two-man race.
After winning all seven races in North America before the holiday break and the tour shifting to European tracks, USA-1 pilot Steven Holcomb managed only a fifth-place showing on Saturday. Holcomb teamed with brakeman Chris Fogt and finished 0.55 seconds off the winning pace set by Switzerland’s Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann.
Hefti piloted his way to a two-man win for the second straight weekend. Holcomb, however, remained atop the two-man overall points standings.
Alexsandr Zubkov and Alexey Voevoda of Russia finished in second place, 0.18 seconds behind Hefti and Baumann. Francesco Friedrich and Jannis Baecker were third for Germany, one spot ahead of the Canadian sled of Lyndon Rush and Lascelles Brown.
For the U.S. men, Nick Cunningham and Abe Morlu were 11th. Cory Butner and Andreas Drbal were 15th.