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Canadians Humphries, Valois win gold in women's bobsled

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The Canadian Press
11/23/2012 10:26:52 PM
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WHISTLER, B.C. -- Kaillie Humphries' extended her dominating win streak to six at a World Cup bobsled event Friday.

Humphries and rookie brakeman Chelsea Valois of Zenon Park, Sask., took gold in women's two-man bobsled, capping a day that also saw Canada also win silver in men's bobsled and women's skeleton.

"This makes it six in a row for me. North America seems to like me and I like it. Hopefully we can keep this streak alive as we head over to Europe," Humphries said.

"I know we have some big challenges ahead but we are going to keep working really hard and see what happens."

Humphries and Valois finished with a two-run time of one minute 48.68 seconds. Switzerland's Fabienne Meyer and Elisabeth Graf placed second in 1:49.37, while Germany's Sandra Kiriasis and Brett Wiacker were third in 1:49.50.

Humphries' streak started in Whistler last February, the same track where she won an Olympic gold medal in 2010. Since then she has won another World Cup in Calgary, the 2011 world championships and all three of the World Cup events this season.

Earlier, Canada's Lyndon Rush and Lascelles Brown won their first silver medal as a two-man bobsled team at a World Cup event, while Sarah Reid won silver in women's skeleton.

Rush and Brown took the second spot with a two-run time of one minute 45.30 seconds, behind Steven Holcomb and Steven Langton of the United States who won a third straight World Cup event in 1:45.26.

Germany's Francesco Friedrich and Jannis Baecker were third in 1:45.60.

"Honestly I feel like it's gold or nothing here and I made a mistake on corner four. It was a pretty costly one," Rush said.

Rush, from Humboldt, Sask., and veteran brakeman Brown, from Calgary, were second after their first run, finishing in 52.57 seconds. The Canadians shook up the teams in Whistler and the changes concerned Rush, who usually races with Jesse Lumsden.

"I don't really like it to be honest with you because these guys are my four-man team. I don't like racing against them but I like to see the Canadian program do well," Rush said. "It's the head coach's call and I have to fall in line."

Rush's medal was his eighth on the World Cup circuit. Brown won an Olympic silver medal with Pierre Lueders in 2006, followed by a bronze with Rush's four-man team in 2010. The 38-year-old slid for Monaco the last two seasons, but is back wearing Canadian colours again.

Pilot Chris Spring, from Calgary, and former CFLer Lumsden, from Burlington, Ont., drove the Canada 2 sled to fifth. Justin Kripps of Summerland, B.C., and veteran Cody Sorensen of Ottawa were 12th. Spring and Lumsden were elated with the team changes.

"In the end we are all Team Canada and I am happy to push Chris to his first top five finish," Lumsden said. "It doesn't matter who I am pushing for. It's for Canada and it's all about the red and white."

Earlier in the day, Calgary's Reid earned her second medal of the season. Reid finished in a two-run time of 1:51.09 seconds, while Marion Thees of Germany grabbed the gold medal in 1:50.92.

Great Britain's Elizabeth Yarnold took the bronze in 1:51.17.

"I am really excited. Coming into this race I wanted to put some pressure on myself so I set some high goals," Reid said. "It is nice to touch the podium in Whistler."

Two weeks ago, Reid and teammate Melissa Hollingsworth finished one-two at the season opener Lake Placid.

This is easily Reid's most successful stretch on the World Cup circuit. She finished fourth in her first ever World Cup race in Nagano, Japan in 2007, but hadn't had a top-5 finish since prior to this season.

"Having the first few World Cups in North America is a good way to kick off the season and get in our comfort zone," Reid said. "This track is really technical but it's the smoothest ice you'll ever slide in your life."

Rookie Cassie Hawrysh of Brandon, Man., finished fourth while Hollingsworth of Eckville, Alta., placed fifth.

In just the third World Cup race of her career, Hawrysh showed she is a contender on the elite circuit. Hawrysh, a former varsity athlete, played volleyball at the University of Windsor and ran track at the University of Regina. She discovered the sport of skeleton after making a spontaneous move to Calgary in 2009.

"I knew that this sport and I really clicked. To be able to stand up with the best girls in the world and race is exactly where I want to be," Hawrysh said.

Two-time overall World Cup champion Hollingsworth had a tough day, dropping to fifth despite winning the silver medal at the season opener in Lake Placid, N.Y.

"I did not have good runs today and you just can't make mistakes on this track," Hollingsworth said. "Sliding on your head is hard enough let alone having a massive head cold. I am just grateful this isn't the Olympic Games and I'm feeling this way."

The results moved Thees up the season's standings to first place with 609 points. Katie Uhlaender of the United States, who won last week's event in Park City, Utah, is second with 577 points and Reid is third with 571 points. Hollingsworth currently sits in fifth while Hawrysh is seventh.

Kaillie Humphries  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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