Familiarly standing on the podium of the women’s monobob, Kylie Humphries, a distinctive medal around her neck, softly sings a different national anthem from her previous Olympic victories.
The moment was more than just a gold medal. She had won it for the United States at the Beijing Olympics after a Controversial split from Bobsleigh Canada, a program she took to new heights by winning three Olympic medals.
“This person feels emotions the most,” Humphreys said. “I was really touched a little bit when I knew I had to fight so hard for something I wanted and had the support and backing sitting behind me and it worked.”
After winning a bronze medal in 2018, Humphries filed a formal complaint of mental and verbal abuse against Canada’s bobsleigh coach Todd Hayes. She asked to exit the program, and began a protracted confrontation.
Other nations recruited Humphreys with an offer of instant citizenship to compete in Beijing under their flag. Instead, Humphreys waited the lengthy process it took to become a US citizen without any guarantees that the application would be processed in sufficient time to compete in Beijing.
DISCOVER THE GAMES
She became a dual US-Canadian citizen in December, which gave her enough window to qualify for the games. On Monday, she won the inaugural Olympics monopop An event in which a sportswoman is pushing and driving a sleigh on an icy track.
Humphries limped for four rounds of 4 minutes 19.27 seconds. Ilana Myers Taylor, who was chosen to carry the flag at the opening ceremony but tested positive for coronavirus after arriving in Beijing, left quarantine in time to win the silver medal for the United States. Canada’s Christine De Bruyne won the bronze.
Humphreys, 36, now has three Olympic gold medals after her victories in the women’s sled event at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Games. No other woman has won more than one gold medal in the sport since the IOC introduced women’s sledding at the 2002 Olympics.
But that win was different, especially when Myers greeted Taylor Humphries at the end of her last run and wrapped themselves in American flags. Friends and rivals, the two have exchanged wins and positions between the World Cup circuit for more than a decade.
Myers Taylor won bronze in Erin Buck’s two-woman sled push in 2010. She became a pilot, assuming more control of her sled and her fate. She won silver with Lauren Williams in 2014 and with Lauren Gibbs four years later.
On Monday, Taylor-Myers shared the podium with Humphreys at the fourth Olympic Games.
Nobody caught her today,” said Myers-Taylor, adding, “We had our differences as teammates. I think it was actually easier when she was competing to be Canada friends, because we don’t compete for resources. We don’t compete for brake workers. And all these different kinds of things. But I have a lot of respect for her.”
Bobsled is a family endeavor for Taylor Myers, 37. She traveled to Beijing with her husband, Nick Taylor, a substitute for the men’s team, with their two-year-old son Nico, and father Eddie Myers.
When the entire family eventually tested positive for the coronavirus, Myers isolated Taylor away from them. She worked in a cramped hotel room and pumped breast milk for Niko.
“It feels better than gold,” Myers-Taylor said of her silver. “This is definitely the hardest medal I have ever had. It has definitely been the hardest journey to get here, so it is the most special so far, and I am so excited to take this medal to my son.”
The International Olympic Committee announced the inclusion of monobob in the Olympic Games in 2018, but only for women. Men are still the only competitors in the four-man event.
“What I love to see in our sport is that men get a chance to do monobob and women get a chance to do all fours and our sport grows and it actually becomes very equal,” Humphreys said.
Humphries and Taylor Myers will have another chance to add to their eight Olympic medals combined. The two-woman sled event begins on Friday, and they will each drive their own sled.
“Beer enthusiast. Subtly charming alcohol junkie. Wannabe internet buff. Typical pop culture lover.”