BEIJING, China — The United States won gold and silver Sunday in the Winter Olympics debut of women's monobob -- single woman bobsled -- in Beijing.
Kaillie Humphries, who just became a U.S. citizen in December, won the gold medal. It's her third bobsled gold overall. The other two were won for her native Canada. She also has a bronze.
Humphries led the field after her first run on Saturday and kept extending her lead each time thereafter.
Elana Meyers Taylor picked up her fourth Olympic medal overall, earning the silver. She now has three silver and one bronze.
Christine de Bruin of Canada won bronze.
Humphries became the first woman to win Olympic gold medals for two different countries, and the first Olympian to win gold for both the U.S. and Canada. She also is the first woman to win three golds in bobsledding, with a chance for a fourth later this week in the two-person event.
Apolo Ohno (eight), Bonnie Blair (six), Bode Miller (six), Eric Heiden (five) and Chad Hedrick (five) are the only U.S. winter athletes with more medals than Meyers Taylor. She will vie for a fifth medal later this week in the traditional two-person women’s bobsled event.
Put simply, if monobob existed 20 years ago when women’s bobsledding was first part of the Olympic program, Meyers Taylor and Humphries would almost certainly have more medals in their collections. They’ve been the dominant drivers in the world for years; Humphries won her first gold in 2010 as a driver, the year Meyers Taylor won her first bronze as a push athlete. She switched to the driver spot after those Vancouver Games and has piloted her way to two silvers since.
Monobob’s Olympic debut brings several new wrinkles to a sport that’s been on the Olympic program since 1924. Not only are competitors sliding alone, but they’re doing so in standardized sleds provided by organizers, making the discipline a purer test of athleticism and skill while removing the advantage gained by teams using aerospace science to perfect their vehicles.