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Humphries and Meyers Taylor take gold and silver in historic women’s monobob Olympic race
YANQING, China (February 14, 2022) – The American women made history today at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre. Kaillie Humphries (Carlsbad, Calif.) is the first-ever gold medalist in the women’s monobob Olympic competition, and Elana Meyers Taylor (Douglasville, Ga.) is now the U.S. bobsledder with the most Olympic medals with today’s silver medal finish. Humphries and Meyers Taylor have medaled in every Olympic event they’ve competed in, sharing the podium in the last four Olympic Winter Games.
“I’m just really proud of my performance,” Humphries said. “ I’m one small piece of what this medal means and to be able to play my part in getting here and competing and the opportunity for this event. It has taken a lot to get to this point and I tried to stay as focused as I could and it worked. So, I’m pretty overwhelmed to say the least of how this all feels.”
Humphries was the overnight leader by 1.04 seconds, and she extended that lead to 1.55 seconds in the third heat this morning with a downtime of 1:04.87. Leaving no doubt that she would take gold, Humphries threw down a 1:05.30 to win the first women’s monobob gold medal by an incredible 1.54 seconds with a four-run combined time of 4:19.27.
“I was talking to Elana, she likes the close races,” Humphries said. “I like being seconds ahead. That is comforting and exciting to me. That motivates me to be as far ahead as I can possibly be.”
Humphries has sung to the national anthem while on the medal stand at the Olympics twice before; she won gold at the two-woman events at the 2010 Vancouver Games and the 2014 Sochi Games. But this time was different. This time it was an American flag that was raised in her honor as she stood on top of the podium. She sang along, with her hand over her heart.
“Of course I did, I know every word,” Humphries said. “I am so proud to represent the USA.”
Humphries entered this season not knowing if she would be eligible to compete in the 2022 Olympics. She needed citizenship from the United States, or else she’d be “stateless,” and unable to race. With just one month to spare, she got it.
“My family has been so supportive and Travis (Armbruster) has been a huge driving force throughout all of this,” Humhpries said about her husband. “He has kept me sane and grounded, provided opportunity. He has been my rock throughout this entire journey and I owe a huge portion to him because I definitely would not have made it here. I wouldn’t have made it this far. I would have given up hands down, hundreds of times before getting here if it wasn’t for him. I found a good one, I got a good one.”
There have been 25 Olympians to win medals for two distinctly different nations. Of these, only two have done it at the Winter Olympics, and both were men. Humphries is the first woman.
“Wow, I’m glad I didn’t know that before,” Humphries said.
“It’s been a journey,” Humphries continues. “As I age I’ve learned life is very unpredictable and we don’t always know our path forward and what the future holds, and we do the best we can with each and every obstacle or path change that gets thrown at us. I think what’s important to remember is that we fight for ourselves, we fight for opportunity, that we take ownership, we stay strong and courageous, no matter what comes or what happens. I haven’t always known the end result, even as of yesterday I didn’t know how today was going to go. But I needed to put one foot in front of the other with each and every step, and just do the very best that I could and trust in God’s plan and timing for what was to come for me.”
Meyers Taylor was 0.10 seconds from the medals in fourth after yesterday’s first two heats. She moved into bronze medal position with a third heat of 1:05.28, surpassing Germany’s Laura Nolte by 0.32 seconds. Meyers Taylor dialed it in on the last run, clocking the fastest time of 1:05.11 in the finale to move up another spot to claim the silver medal.
“I came out today just completely having fun,” Meyers Taylor said. “I came out today knowing I had absolutely nothing to lose. For me, the difference between fourth and 20th wasn’t going to make a difference so all I had to do was lay it all on the line and that’s exactly what I did. I just went out there, enjoyed the heck out of this race, and fortunately it paid off.”
Two days ago Meyers Taylor told coach Brian Shimer that she didn’t know if she could race. After spending time in isolation due to a positive COVID-19 test, and away from her family, Meyers Taylor said she was really struggling leading into this race.
“I was that bad mentally, I was that put out, and I didn’t know if I could,” Meyers Taylor said. “I didn’t know if I should. And my runs showed it. My runs were pretty terrible and I just couldn’t clear my head. There was so much fog in my head with everything that’s been going on. I was really questioning whether I should come out. But, you know, thanks to my team, thanks to everybody, they lifted me up and they lifted me up to a silver medal.”
Shimer told Meyers Taylor, “we’re gonna do it, we’re gonna do it. We’re gonna get through this.”
“Shimer’s a funny guy and he’s got a special place in my heart forever and always,” Meyers Taylor said. “He’s been there through thick and thin and even last night he told me, ‘we got this. We’re gonna do this.’”
And she did. Meyers Taylor overcame obstacles, again and again, to take silver. As she hung onto her medal after the ceremony, she said, “this feels heavier than gold.”
Canada’s Christine de Bruin claimed bronze in 4:21.03 to complete a North American sweep of the medals. Laura Nolte, who was third after the first two heats, finished fourth.
“I think it sets us up pretty good for two-man,” Meyers Taylor said. “ I think (Germany) is going to come out with a vengeance, so I’ve gotta get ready for that, but they’ve been dominant in two-man all season long in the World Cup, so we’ve got our work cut out for us. But, I think it says a lot.”
With today’s silver medal finish, Meyers Taylor has now earned the most Olympic medals of any U.S. bobsledder. Steven Holcomb, Jack Heaton and Pat Martin were all three-time medalists. Meyers Taylor now has four, with the potential to earn five in the upcoming two-woman bobsled race.
Meyers Taylor is now tied for sixth as the U.S. athlete with the most medals among Winter Olympians. The only athletes to earn more are Apolo Ohno with eight, Bonnie Blair and Bode Miller with six, and Eric Heiden and Chad Hendrick with five.
Humphries and Meyers Taylor will get a second chance to medal in these games with the two-woman competition from February 18-19 at 8 p.m. local time.
For media inquiries, please contact USABS Marketing and Communications Director Amanda Bird at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Kaillie Humphries (USA) 4:19.27 (1:04.44, 1:04.66, 1:04.87, 1:05.30);
2. Elana Meyers Taylor (USA) 4:20.81 (1:05.12, 1:05.30, 1:05.28, 1:05.11);
3. Christine de Bruin (CAN) 4:21.03 (1:05.12, 1:05.02, 1:05.38, 1:05.51)
About USA Bobsled/Skeleton
USA Bobsled/Skeleton (USABS), based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com. Individuals interested in becoming a bobsled or skeleton athlete can visit www.usabobsledskeleton.com.