Most bobsledders approached their few treasured coaching runs on China’s snow dragon as in the event that they have been school college students cramming for a midterm, attempting to be taught as a lot as attainable in a short while body earlier than the large check.
Kaillie Humphries of the USA was the one athlete among the many area of 20 who skipped the ultimate monobob coaching heats on Saturday on the Nationwide Sliding Heart. She had the observe — its nuances and tendencies — memorized.
On Monday, she proved that her instincts have been right. Humphries gained gold within the inaugural monobob occasion, through which one feminine athlete pushes and pilots her sled down the icy observe.
Humphries zigzagged for a four-run whole time of 4 minutes, 19.27 seconds. Elana Meyers Taylor, who was chosen as a flag-bearer for the opening ceremony, however examined optimistic for the coronavirus, left quarantine in time to win silver for the USA.
Her win paused Germany’s run of golds in sliding sports activities on the Beijing Video games. The nation collected golds in all six of the earlier sliding competitions.
Humphries, 36, additionally tied the benchmark established by the snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis earlier in Beijing because the oldest American girl to medal on the Winter Olympics.
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That is Humphries’s first Olympics representing the USA following an acrimonious split from Bobsleigh Canada, a program she had lifted to new heights and represented at three earlier Olympics.
After successful a bronze medal in 2018, Humphries filed a proper criticism of psychological and verbal abuse in opposition to Todd Hays, a coach for Bobsleigh Canada. She requested to be launched from this system, initiating a protracted standoff.
Different international locations recruited Humphries with the provide of fast citizenship to compete in Beijing below their flag. Humphries as a substitute waited out the prolonged course of it took to develop into a U.S. citizen with no assurances that she could be granted a passport with sufficient time to compete on the Video games.
“I’m changing into an American,” Humphries stated earlier than the Olympics. “Reminding myself of that made it a lot greater and far more grand. On the finish of the day, the Olympics is a race. It’s what I work for, however it’s not part of who I’m, and changing into an American could be very a lot part of who I’m.”
She grew to become one in December, permitting simply sufficient of a window to qualify for the Winter Video games.
“This has been a really arduous fought battle to get right here, and it undoubtedly feels totally different,” she stated.
Humphries and Elana Meyers Taylor, pals and rivals, have traded wins and locations among the many World Cup circuit for greater than a decade. Meyers Taylor has collected two silvers and a bronze in previous Olympics.
Meyers Taylor, 37, was named a flag-bearer for the USA earlier than she examined optimistic for the coronavirus shortly after arriving in Beijing. She made it out of quarantine in time to compete within the race.
“Now we have shared the rostrum since 2010 collectively,” Humphries stated. “And we’ve got this battle royale the place I push her and she or he pushes me to be higher. And it all the time labored.”
The I.O.C. introduced monobob’s Olympic inclusion in 2018, however just for ladies. Males are nonetheless the one opponents within the four-man bobsled occasion.
“What I might like to see in our sport is that males get the chance to do monobob and that girls get the chance to do four-man and our sport grows and truly turns into very equal,” Humphries he stated.
Humphries and Meyers Taylor may have one other alternative so as to add to their medal totals. The 2-woman bobsled occasion begins on Friday.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/13/sports activities/kaillie-humphries-monobob.html Kaillie Humphries Takes Gold in Monobob’s Olympic Debut