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Canada's Humphries wins bobsled gold

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ST. MORITZ, Switzerland -- Calgary's Kaillie Humphries won a women's bobsled World Cup with a dazzling second run, rallying from being only 10th fastest at the midpoint of the competition on Saturday.

Humphries and Heather Moyse of Summerside, P.E.I., were significantly faster than all other sleds in that second run, posting a final time of two 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 medallist -- and everyone fell short. Cathleen Martini and Christin Senkel were second for Germany in 2:17.14, 0.01 ahead of bronze medallists Fabienne Meyer and Tanja Mayer of Switzerland.

"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."

In tough on luge track

OBERHOF, Germany -- Calgary's Alex Gough was not able to break down the powerful Germans at a luge World Cup on Saturday, placing fifth with a two-run time of one minute, 24.527 seconds.

With the rest of the world having limited run volume on the German track, the already powerful German nation slid to the top-four positions in the women's event for the second-straight year. Tatjana Hufner grabbed the gold at 1:23.925, while Natalie Geisenberger was second at 1:23.941 and Dajana Eitberger slid to the bronze (1:24.316).

"It was a tough one. We knew we didn't have much training so I think it was the maximize we could achieve here on the technical track this week," said Wolfgang Staudinger, the head coach of Canada's luge team. "There was nothing dramatic, but we just had a little mistake here and there and that accumulates."

It was a solid day for the three Canadian women who combined to finish as the next strongest nation behind the Germans.

Calgarians Kim McRae cracked the top-15 with a time of 1:25.046 for 14th spot, while Arianne Jones placed 17th at 1:25.169.

"This is a very demanding and technical track and we just don't have the experience on this track but we knew this," said Staudinger, who added McRae was ninth after the first run before dropping down the standings. "It was tough on our young sleds because they just couldn't find the rhythm today.

"But we'll get through this week and move on. The most important thing for us here is to collect point for the seeded group at the Olympics."

It was equally challenging in the men's doubles race. Canada's medal-winning duo of Tristan Walker of Cochrane, Alta., and Calgary's Justin Snith of last week, placed eighth at 1:24.168.

The moguls maestro

DEER VALLEY, Utah -- Canada's Mikael Kingsbury continued his march to the Olympics with his third straight World Cup moguls victory Thursday.

Kingsbury, from Deux-Montagnes, Que., finished with a score of 26.39 as Canada swept the men's podium.

Montreal's Alex Bilodeau was second with 25.29 points, while Marc-Antoine Gagnon, also from Montreal, followed in third at 24.85.

Kingsbury, the reigning moguls world champion, is set to compete in his first Winter Games next month in Sochi, Russia. Bilodeau, meanwhile, won Olympic gold in Vancouver four years ago.

"This is my favourite course," said Kingsbury, after winning at the site of the 2002 Winter Games. "To win here, you need to be technically strong. But, my favourite part of tonight was being on the podium with my friends and teammates. Alex skied really well, and I'm really excited for Marc-Antoine."

Gagnon was happy to celebrate his first World Cup podium.

"You know, I didn't think too much," said Gagnon. "I really wasn't stressed and I was feeling great. So I just let it go."

Canada finished with five medals at the World Cup event after Montreal's Chloe Dufour-Lapointe won the women's silver with a score of 23.45 while her sister Justine (23.33) took third.

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 12, 2014 B6

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