Two-time Olympic bobsleigh champion Kaillie Humphries says her initial reaction was “surprise” after learning her longtime brakeman Heather Moyse was making a comeback to the sport.
“I had approached Heather in March asking if she would consider making a comeback to the sport to see if we could re-unite for another Olympic run,” Humphries said. “She informed me later she wasn’t motivated to do it again and I am okay with that as the current brakeman we have will make it hard to earn a spot as they are motivated.”
Humphries said she found out on Friday about Moyse’s comeback when a coaching member from Bobsleigh Canada called to tell her.
The two captured Olympic gold in back-to-back Games in Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014.
Despite her initial surprise, Humphries said she’s taking it in stride and in some respects was mentally preparing for this.
“This was a similar approach leading into Sochi 2014, so I’m prepared for it through experience,” she said. “Heading into this season on separate teams will be a new experience but one I have planned for.”
In the fall of 2013 before Sochi, Moyse came back from a shoulder injury and turned an unlikely training camp appearance into another gold medal with Humphries.
“We’ve done some great things together as teammates,” Humphries said. “Every sport is stronger anytime a champion returns. I applaud Heather’s decision to return to bobsleigh. I think it’s great for the team.”
Now the two will be competing against one another and Moyse has said she was concerned and somewhat hesitant about how it would go over.
“It’s never been an easy thing to do, to come in and compete for a job with somebody else,” Moyse said. “I think initially there will be a bit of hesitation and nervousness on the part of others. That’s natural. It’s tough but it’s a part of what it means to be an Olympic athlete. I hope it will spark some drive and a positive, competitive environment.”
Humphries agrees with Moyse.
“The motto of Bobsleigh Canada is based around ‘building world and Olympic champions’ which is something I have become with their help,” Humphries said.
“I believe it’s very important to build that next generation along the way, which is why I have chosen to remain apart of this team and why I fight so hard for the women’s four-man event in the Olympics. I want to see this sport, and women’s competition within Canada and around the world, reach new heights and be allowed every opportunity to be great.”
‘I feel I’m in the greatest shape of my life’
Humphries said her planning and training is not going to be affected by Moyse’s return, stating she’s been dedicated to working with Cynthia Appiah and Melissa Lotholz for the past three-plus years. She has also been working with Canadian track athlete Phylicia George.
“My focus remains on working with the women who have the same goals as I do,” Humphries said.
“We focus on the top of the podium, pushing ourselves to the limits individually and together, mentally and physically, so that we may realize our dreams.”
Humphries started her high-intensity training for this season on May 1. It marks her 15th year competing in bobsleigh and while she said there is a certain toll that has taken on her body, she’s ready to give her best at another Olympics.
“I feel I’m in the greatest shape of my life,” she said. “With age comes a maturity and wisdom that brings confidence in myself and my teammates. I’m ready to face any challenge that lay before me. I’m focused on the top of the podium in 2018 and bringing home gold for Canada.”