(Reuters) – Kaille Humphries, who switched competitive allegiance from Canada in September, triumphed in her World Cup debut for the United States on Saturday in Lake Placid, New York.
The double Olympic gold medalist paired with brakewoman Lauren Gibbs and the duo finished 0.31 seconds ahead of the competition with a two-run total of one minute 53.48 seconds to secure their first win of the season.
“This feels fantastic to start the season so strong,” said Humphries, who won Olympic gold for Canada in 2010 and 2014.
“It’s a great way to start this next chapter. The team has been so supportive, and there’s been incredible team effort this week to make this win happen today. I’m feeling really happy and proud.”
Humphries, who married former U.S. bobsleigh team member Travis Armbruster in September, finished the opening run in 56.70 seconds and led the field by 0.09 seconds after the first heat. She and Gibbs clocked 56.78 on their next slide.
Germany’s Stephanie Schneider and Lisette Thoene, who were fourth after the first heat, claimed the silver medal with a two-run total of 1:53:79. Kim Kalicki and Vanessa Mark of Germany took the bronze with a combined time of 1:53:92.
Humphries filed a harassment complaint against Bobsleigh Canada and described her workplace environment as “impaired”. In October 2018 said she was taking a year off from competition.
She later filed a lawsuit against Bobsleigh Canada to obtain her release and was denied by a judge but the national governing body ultimately granted her request.
“I’ve been through a lot emotionally over the last year, so knowing I have the skill to focus and turn it on when I need to builds confidence,” said Humphries.
“I can rely on my team mates and they trust me back. Some things aren’t perfect but I’m a high-performing athlete and there will always be things I want to improve on. I’m excited to have this as a starting point.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Clare Fallon)