Golden start for Humphries and Lotholz at bobsleigh World Cup 

Canadians reach top of the podium in season-opening race in Lake Placid, N.Y.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ADAM TABER - Gold run Kaillie Humphries completes a run at the Whistler Sliding Centre. She captured her 20th World Cup gold in Lake Placid on Nov. 9.
  • photo by adam taber
  • Gold run Kaillie Humphries completes a run at the Whistler Sliding Centre. She captured her 20th World Cup gold in Lake Placid on Nov. 9.

A trio of medals highlighted the opening to Team Canada's bobsleigh and skeleton World Cup season in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Nov 9 and 10.

Kaillie Humphries and Melissa Lotholz led the way, capturing gold in women's bobsleigh, while Elisabeth Vathje and the pair of Justin Kripps and Alex Kopacz took home silver for women's skeleton and two-man bobsleigh respectively.

The win marked Humphries' third World Cup gold at Lake Placid, and 20th World Cup gold overall in the 32-year old's illustrious career.

"I really like this track. This is where I learned to drive in 2006," said Humphries in a release. "It is a driver's track and it suits my style. You need to be focused, pay attention and look ahead on this track because it is fast. It is rough. The corners aren't big so it causes what we say 'whipping' which requires a lot of trust to be on the right line. It takes experience to drive this track well, but from the first time I drove it, I have loved it."

For Lotholz, it's the sixth World Cup gold she has pushed Humphries to. It's an excellent start to the season for the farm girl from Barrhead, Alta., who is viewed as the favourite to be braking for Humphries in Pyeongchang in three months.

"It's always fun to win and to start the season off with a win makes it even better," said Lotholz. "It was great to get back into race mode and shake off the dust from the off-season. It was a good overall race and one step forward in the process this year."

Vathje started her World Cup skeleton career with a silver medal at Lake Placid in 2014, and once again accomplished that feat, posting a two-run time of 1:50.39. Local Jane Channell finished sixth in the field of 26, the same place she finished in Lake Placid last year, despite bettering her time by half a second.

On Friday, Nov.10, warm weather made the track unfit for four-man bobsleigh, so back-to-back two-man competitions were held. After finishing fourth with Jesse Lumsden the day prior, Kripps was paired with Kopacz and the duo finished just 0.11 seconds shy of a gold.

Other notable Canadian results included: sixth place for Christine de Bruin and Cynthia Appiah and seventh for Alysia Rissling and Kristen Bujnowski in women's bobsleigh, a seventh place finish for Mirela Rahneva in ladies skeleton and Dave Greszczyszyn was top in men's skelton, coming 13th.

The next stop for the IBSF World Cup is in Park City, Utah this weekend, before coming to the Whistler Sliding Centre Nov. 24 and 25.

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