Bobsled

Tony Care - Monday Dec. 16, 2013 10:41 ET

Humphries, Moyse lead Canada’s Olympic bobsled team

Rush, Spring hope to reach men’s podium

humphries-moyse-ap-0552991
Canada's pilot Kaillie Humphries, left, and brakeman Heather Moyse are the defending Olympic bobsled champions. (Mike Groll/Associated Press)

Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse will be the catalysts to Canada’s medal hopes at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games after Bobsleigh Canada named the 16-member Olympic team Monday in Montreal.

Calgary’s Humphries and Moyse, of Summerside, P.E.I., are the defending Olympic champions and have already won two World Cup events this season.

Pilots Lyndon Rush, a 2010 Olympic bronze medallist, and Chris Spring will lead the men.

Humphries and Moyse are about to embark on a journey that could lead them to Olympic immortality. Since the competition’s inclusion into the 2002 Winter Games, no woman’s team has ever repeated as Olympic champions.

Humphries has been the best women’s pilot since capturing gold four years ago in Vancouver. Along with her Olympic title, Humphries has won two world championships and an unprecedented eight consecutive international races spanning over two seasons.

Humphries also piled up 15 straight World Cup podium finishes, a streak that was snapped last week in Park City, Utah. That was largely due to Moyse missing the race with a sore back.

"I've had an amazing time as the champion and I hope to hold the title for another four years," said Humphries. "Being in a leadership role is something I had to accept. "I had to adapt to all the philosophies that come along with it. I've had to learn. I really have no ideas what I'm doing, but I've had great mentors not only within the sport but from the Canadian Olympic team. It's been a great four years and I hope to make it another great four years."

Moyse returned to the national team this fall after recovering from hip surgery. The 35-year-old has been tearing up the track since her return. She’s already won two gold medals and one silver with Humphries during this World Cup season.

“It’s always an exceptional feeling to stand atop the podium and hear the national anthem played,” said Moyse.

“Every Olympic Games is special  — I feel the same excitement and pride today as I did when I was named to the 2006 and 2010 Canadian Olympic Teams. I know we are all going to give our everything to represent Canada the best we can.”

Taking the reins in Canada 2 with be Edmonton pilot Jenny Ciochetti and brakeman Chelsea Valois, of Zenon Park, Sask.

As a brakeman, Ciochetti won the 2012 world title with Humphries. Valois was part of the team that won five of the eight consecutive races with Humphries.

Humphries and Moyse were not the favourites going into the Vancouver Games, but pulled out a rousing win on home soil. They will go into Sochi among the favourites, but Moyse said that won't change their mindset.

"It's important to focus," she said. "We still have four World Cups before the Olympics.

"If we start looking too far ahead to the Olympics and taking things for granted, it'll slip out of our fingers. If we focus on each race as it comes and then treat Sochi like it's just the last race of our season and not making it any bigger than just another race, then I think we'll be able to accomplish great things and maybe win another Olympic gold medal. I think it's possible."

Humphries said the bobsled track in Sochi will be a challenge.

"It's completely different from Vancouver or a lot of tracks we've been on," she said. "It has three uphill sections, which is brand new for I'd say 98 per cent of people on tour.

"Nagano in 1998 was the last track we had with uphill sections. It's fairly short and the start will play a critical role. It's really going to come down to who has put all the pieces together in
the best way possible."

Rush, Spring lead men

Rush, from Humboldt, Sask., claimed the 2010 Olympic bronze medal in the four-man event. He also won the two-man overall World Cup title last year. But the 33-year-old has struggled to find his form this season, failing to crack the podium in any World Cup events.

To this point, Rush has been paired mostly with brakeman Lascelles Brown, who won silver with legendary Canadian pilot Pierre Lueders at the 2006 Torino Olympics.

Spring is an Australian native who began representing Canada in 2010 and now resides in Calgary. Spring and brakeman Jesse Lumsden claimed Canada’s lone podium finish this season, earning a World Cup bronze in the two-man event during the season-opening race in Calgary.

Four athletes — Luke Demetre of Halifax, Sam Giguere of Sherbrooke, Que., Emily Baadsvik of St. Stephen, N.B. and Kate O'Brien of Calgary — are in contention for the final two spots on the team that will be decided in January.

Canada’s Olympic bobsleigh team
(*Denotes four athletes vying for remaining two spots)

Women

  • Kaillie Humphries, Calgary
  • Heather Moyse, Summerside, P.E.I.
  • Jenny Ciochetti, Edmonton
  • Chelsea Valois, Zenon Park, Sask.
  • *Emily Baadsvik, St. Stephen, N.B.
  • *Kate O’Brien, Calgary

Men

  • Lyndon Rush, Humboldt, Sask.
  • Dave Bisett, Edmonton
  • Lascelles Brown, Calgary
  • Neville Wright, Edmonton
  • Chris Spring, Calgary
  • Jesse Lumsden, Burlington, Ont.
  • Cody Sorensen, Ottawa
  • Ben Coakwell, Saskatoon
  • Justin Kripps, Summerland, B.C.
  • James McNaughton, Newmarket, Ont.
  • Tim Randal, Toronto
  • Bryan Barnett, Edmonton
  • Graeme Rinholm, Medicine Hat, Alta.
  • *Sam Giguere, Sherbrooke, Que.
  • *Luke Demetre, Halifax

With files from The Canadian Press

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