Kaillie Humphries and Lauren Gibbs celebrate winning the gold medal during day 2 of the BMW IBSF World Championships Altenberg 2020 on Feb. 22, 2020 in Altenberg, Germany.
The first time Kaillie Humphries won the world championship in two-woman bobsled in 2012, there was no trophy on which to etch her name.
The men got one, but not the women, despite having competed in the event since 2000.
Humphries won her third world title – her first as a member of Team USA – on Saturday, and, thanks in no small part to Humphries and her family, both she and brakewoman Lauren Gibbs will have their names added to a nice, shiny trophy. Humphries tied German legend Sandra Kiriasis for the most women's bobsled world title wins at three apiece.
The race unfolded the way everyone predicted.
Humphries and Gibbs led by .21 seconds after the first two heats contested on Friday on the notoriously fast and difficult track at Altenberg, Germany.
It’s a track that’s suited Humphries well over the years, however, and they topped both their Friday times in heat three, clocking in at 56.27 seconds. That was the fastest run of the heat, and they also logged the fastest push time for the third heat in a row at 5.62 seconds.
That left them with a .19-second lead over the German duo of Kim Kalicki and Kira Lipperheide.
With another great start, Humphries and Gibbs grew the lead early on in the fourth and final run, and midway down the track the gold medal was theirs. They finished with a total time of 3:45.49, with Kalicki and Lipperheide .37 seconds behind in second place. Canada’s Christine de Bruin and Kristen Bujnowski finished third.
Humphries’ third world title ties the record set by Germany’s Sandra Kiriasis.
This is Gibbs’ second world championship medal after winning bronze with Elana Meyers Taylor, who took this season off because of her pregnancy, in 2016. Gibbs also won the Olympic silver medal with Meyers Taylor in 2018.
Humphries is a two-time Olympic champion for Canada who sought her release over the summer and, after receiving it, was cleared to compete for Team USA by virtue of her marriage to former U.S. bobsledder Travis Armbruster. She hadn’t raced since the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 before donning the red, white and blue for the first time this season, but won gold in the opening race. With two first-place finishes in Lake Placid, New York, in December, Humprhies finished just off the podium in fourth place in both Winterberg in Germany and La Plagne in France January.
She came into the world championships on a podium streak, finishing third in Innsbruck, Austria, then winning at Konigssee, Germany on Jan. 25 and at St. Moritz, Switzerland on Feb. 1. Gibbs has been her brakewoman throughout.
After Humphries won her first world title in 2012 and learned the women didn’t get a trophy, her parents offered to purchase and donate one for the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation. That sparked something in the IBSF, which did produce a trophy that Humphries then won the following season with her second world title.
With the trophy in her possession, Humphries and her family then went back and determined the names of all the past winners and paid to have their names added to the piece of hardware as a way of honoring women’s accomplishments in the sport.
The world championships continue on Sunday with the final two runs of the men’s two-man bobsled. Hunter Church and Josh Williamson were in 20th place after the first two heats.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.