The women’s bobsled competition will feature many athletes that have had success over the years. But which team will crown their season with an Olympic gold medal? Here are the women most likely to be victorious:
Kailie Humphries was part of a very strong Canadian team at the Vancouver Olympics. Behind the home crowd she was able to win the gold medal, which she is trying to defend at Sochi. Humphries also won the overall World Cup last year and has shown over the years that she can be very successful on many tracks around the world, not just the one in Whistler. If Humpries can carry her momentum into the new season and play out her experience at Sochi, she will be a clear favorite for a medal.
While Humpries was celebrating her triumph, Sandra Kiriasis had to watch. After a fourth place at Vancouver she is back and looking to be on the podium this time around. At 38 years of age, Kiriasis is probably competing at her last Olympic Games, but the defending European Champion still has the potential to win a medal. Kiriasis won the Olympic test at Sochi in 2013 and looks to duplicate the result in 2014, where she will look to beat out the competition for a place in the history books.
Another strong member of the German team is Cathleen Martini. Martini is just as decorated as the other favorites, which makes the competition unpredictable. As a two-time World Cup winner and European Champion, Martini has won a lot of big races so far. She would love to add to that list at the Olympic Games and win the biggest race of her career. Martini has to improve her start times, which were the slowest in the top 10 of the race at Sochi in 2013, but she is clearly a top favorite in 2014.
In contrast to the other athletes in the top ranks, Elana Meyers from the U.S. only has an overall sixth place in the 2013 World Cup to show for. That does not mean that Meyers cannot race faster than the more decorated women competing against her. Her second place at Sochi in 2013 put her into the inner circle of favorites to win a medal a year later. At her first Olympics as a driver, Meyers will be able to establish herself as a big name in the sport, entering the Games as Team USA’s biggest hope for a medal.
The Netherlands are not really the biggest powerhouse in winter sports, but Esme Kamphuis will be much more than an exotic participant at Sochi. Kamphuis has been amongst the elite for a few years now, but has never won a major event. At Sochi 2013 she only finished 11th, but because of her consistent top-five finishes over the years nobody should underestimate her. Kamphuis wants her first major victory of her career and will look to add to the Dutch medal count at the Olympics.
Jazmine Fenlator from the U.S. will be watched by many people at the Olympics and enters with high expectations. Fenlator teamed with Lolo Jones for two good start times at Sochi 2013, where they finished 13th. The U.S. will likely be a triple threat for the podium since all three women’s pilots- Meyers, Fenlator and Jamie Greubel- medaled on the World Cup circuit last season. Bree Schaaf will also be in the mix next season. Schaaf placed fifth at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and claimed the 2013 North American Cup title while recovering from hip surgery. It will be interesting to see how the U.S. women adjust to the added pressure, but with some of the fastest women in the world pushing the sleds, be ready for a surprise at Sochi.