YANQING, China –
Canada’s Christine de Bruin won bronze in the inaugural Olympic monobob race at the Beijing Games on Monday.
Kaillie Humphries — the Stony Plain, Alta., native’s former Canadian teammate — took gold in her first Olympics competing for the United States with a dominant combined four-run time of four minutes 19.27 seconds.
De Bruin was third in 4:21.03 in the new women’s pilot-only bobsled discipline at Yanqing National Sliding Centre.
Elana Meyers Taylor of the U.S., who entered the final run behind de Bruin in third place, claimed silver in 4:20.81.
Toronto’s Cynthia Appiah was eighth on the 1,615-metre, 16-turn track located about 90 kilometres north of Beijing.
Humphries won gold piloting for Canada in the two-person discipline at both the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, and finished third in 2018, but then had an acrimonious split with the program.
She started racing for the U.S. in 2019 after being granted her release by Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton.
The Calgary product’s third podium-topping performance at a Games followed a number of challenges just getting to China.
Humphries didn’t require U.S. citizenship to race at other international events, but needed a passport for the Olympics.
The 36-year-old got the proper documents with just weeks to spare, but then tested positive for COVID-19 last month before recovering in time to make the trip to Beijing following a roller-coaster stretch.
Humphries filed a harassment complaint with Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton — the sport’s national governing body — in 2018, claiming she was “repeatedly and horribly verbally and mentally abused by the head coach.”
“I have repeatedly told Bobsleigh Canada, who has done nothing to stop him, protect me, or get a timely resolve so I can be back competing,” she wrote in an email to The Canadian Press in September 2019. “I was forced back to working with him multiple times, which resulted in major mental health issues over this past year.”
The allegations remain under investigation.
Todd Hays, the coach of the U.S. women’s team from 2011 to 2014, has been Canada’s head coach since 2017.
Humphries, who’s also competing in the two-woman event in China, piloted Canada to those back-to-back gold medals in 2010 and 2014 with brakewoman Heather Moyse, making them the first duo to repeat as Olympic women’s bobsled champions.
They carried Canada’s flag in the closing ceremony in Sochi, Russia, eight years ago.
Humphries, who won the 2014 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete, and Phylicia George claimed bronze in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, before the former left the program.
She piloted Canada to gold at the world championships in the two-person event in 2012 and 2013, and in 2020 and 2021 for the U.S.
Humphries won the first monobob race at the worlds last year.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 14, 2022.