BEIJING — Kaillie Humphries crossed the end line, jumped from her sled and hoisted an American flag that somebody had simply handed her into the frosty air.
“U-S-A! U-S-A!” she chanted.
4 years in the past, no one would have seen that coming. The previous Canadian bobsled heroine is an Olympic gold medalist for the third time — and for the primary time, as a U.S. citizen.
Humphries is monobob’s first Olympic champion, ending off a surprisingly straightforward win on the Beijing Video games on Monday. She accomplished 4 runs in 4 minutes, 19.27 seconds to guide a gold-silver end for the U.S. ladies’s program, with teammate Elana Meyers Taylor inserting second.
“As I age, I’ve realized life could be very unpredictable and we do not at all times know our path ahead and what the long run holds,” Humphries mentioned. “We do one of the best we will with each impediment or path change that will get thrown at us. What’s vital is to struggle for ourselves.”
Meyers Taylor was second in 4:20.81 — 1.54 seconds again — for her fourth Olympic medal, one which got here after she took a 12 months off following the Pyeongchang Video games to grow to be a mom. Christine de Bruin of Canada was third in 4:21.03.
Humphries gave the medal a giant kiss as she put it round her neck, then put her hand over her coronary heart and sang together with “The Star-Spangled Banner” because it blared in her honor.
Humphries grew to become the primary girl to win Olympic gold for 2 completely different international locations, and the primary Olympian to win gold for each the U.S. and Canada. She is also the primary girl to win three golds in bobsledding, with an opportunity for a fourth later this week within the two-person occasion.
“I give a lot credit score to the coaches, the employees, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee for serious about the whole lot that may probably go into supporting each Elana and Kaillie,” USA Bobsled and Skeleton CEO Aron McGuire mentioned. “And it labored out. Definitely, a storybook ending.”
It was the largest successful margin by far in any of the six Olympic bobsled races which have been contested by ladies, smashing the 0.85-second victory that Humphries loved on the 2010 Vancouver Video games.
“I am one small piece of what this medal means,” Humphries mentioned. “It is taken quite a bit to get thus far.”
Meyers Taylor is now a four-time medalist, giving her essentially the most in USA Bobsled historical past — breaking a tie with three others, the nice Steven Holcomb amongst them — and tying her for sixth most in U.S. Winter Olympic historical past.
Apolo Ohno (eight), Bonnie Blair (six), Bode Miller (six), Eric Heiden (5) and Chad Hedrick (5) are the one U.S. winter athletes with extra medals. Meyers Taylor will vie for a fifth medal later this week within the conventional two-person ladies’s bobsled occasion.
“It is bittersweet as a result of I’d have beloved to see Holcomb win one other one in 2018 and I do know he would have, one other two in all probability,” Meyers Taylor mentioned. “I believe Holcomb’s information are treasured.”
Like Humphries, Meyers Taylor additionally went by means of struggles to get right here. Concussions almost derailed her profession, then she took a 12 months off to have her first little one, a boy born with Down syndrome and important listening to loss. And in Beijing, she did a stint in isolation — spending extra time away from her son than she ever had since his beginning two years in the past — after testing constructive for COVID-19.
However it was becoming that Humphries and Meyers Taylor completed 1-2 — the primary gold-silver end for the U.S. in an Olympic bobsled race since 1932 — as a result of they had been those who championed a second medal occasion being added to the ladies’s bobsled Olympic program.
“I’m to the moon with this medal,” Meyers Taylor mentioned. “I used to be, at one level, simply making an attempt to make it to the race. So to be right here now, a silver medalist, it feels so superb.”
Humphries received three ladies’s bobsled medals — two gold, one bronze — for Canada, then joined the U.S. group in 2019 after saying she had suffered psychological and emotional trauma and now not felt protected being part of that program.
She made the change realizing the Beijing Video games weren’t assured: A passport is required in nearly all circumstances to compete on the Olympics, and Humphries was advised it could possibly be a four-year course of. She had 2 1/2 years to get it accomplished.
Humphries grew to become a citizen in December after acing her ultimate interview in San Diego, then flew again midway internationally the subsequent day to rejoin the World Cup circuit. Extra challenges awaited: A hamstring damage slowed her down on the finish of the World Cup season, after which she examined constructive for COVID-19 — a hurdle she didn’t absolutely clear till earlier this month.
All good now. Good as gold.
“We’ve labored so arduous for this and been by means of a lot,” mentioned Travis Armbruster, Humphries’ husband, as he watched from their San Diego dwelling. “I couldn’t breathe till she crossed the end line.”
Humphries managed the entire race: up by 0.30 seconds after the primary run Sunday, then 1.04 seconds on the midpoint and stored pulling away Monday.
De Bruin began the day second and ended up third. Laura Nolte of Germany began the day third and completed fourth, making this the primary of seven sliding races up to now on the Beijing Video games that the Germans — who had received golds within the different six — did not even medal. Meyers Taylor was the one medal contender who moved up Monday, going from fourth to second.
The one drama on the finish was who would get the silver.
Gold had been received. Humphries made historical past. America had a brand new champion.
“I selected a nation,” Humphries mentioned. “And it selected me again. To know that we might do that collectively as a group, it is an enormous honor.”
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