Canada's overall world cup winner Kaillie Humphries

The art of passion and hard work

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — She’s covered in tattoos, each of their details, colours and designs representing a person or event that has shaped Kaillie Humphries’ life. A self-portrait on skin, her body of work.

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — She’s covered in tattoos, each of their details, colours and designs representing a person or event that has shaped Kaillie Humphries’ life.

A self-portrait on skin, her body of work.

The ink — one of her tats flows from the waist to her toe — accentuates her muscular physique and gives those who don’t know Humphries the idea that she’s some Canadian biker chick with a bad attitude.

“Please,” says her brakeman, Heather Moyse. “All of those tattoos symbolize the softer side of Kaillie. There’s not one skull on there.”

With a heart as golden as the medal she won four years ago in Vancouver, Humphries has a chance to make her own permanent mark in the Olympic record books as the first woman to win consecutive titles in two-man bobsled. She begins the quest Tuesday, when women’s bobsled begins two days of competition on the Sanki Sliding Center track.

If the World Cup season and training runs the past few days are any indication, Humphries and USA-1 driver Elana Meyers will duke it for the top spot. It’s been that way for months.

Humphries won the World Cup title over Meyers of Douglasville, Ga., by one point, adding fuel to a friendly rivalry between two women who have become good friends.

Ask Meyers about Humphries, and before saying one word, she smiles.

“She’s one of the people I admire most in this sport,” Meyers said following a training run with brakeman Lauryn Williams of Rochester, Pa. “She genuinely does not care what other people think about her. It’s awesome. She goes out there and is uniquely herself every single time, every single run.”

A former push athlete, Humphries is intense and driven — all the great ones are. She never settles, never walks away from anything without feeling satisfied. If it’s a race, then by gosh, it’s hers to win.

Humphries and Meyers trained together last summer, the pair even sharing the same room for a few days. Humphries pushed Meyers and Meyers pushed back. Now, they’ll go at it again, this time with their sport’s biggest prize up for grabs.

The Canadian and the American, head to head. May the best woman win.

“Every athlete is going to have a rival,” Humphries said. “Elana and I knew that going into this year, which is part of why we decided to train together. She knows, as well as I do, we’re really the only two people who can push each other to continuously get better. It was not an easy decision, and it’s not one most people would make, training with your No. 1 competitor.”

Yes, their time together made them stronger athletes, better drivers. But it also gave each an appreciation of the other, pulling them as close as teammates, just under different flags.

“We have become really good friends,” Humphries said.

“Both her and I are very similar in mannerisms and our abilities to put business on one side and personal stuff in the other. I respect that about her and I hope she does with me, and I think that’s how we’re able to be competitors and rivals and still be friends.”

Under intense pressure on her home course in 2010, Humphries and Moyse — they once competed for the same spot on Canada’s team with Moyse beating out Humphries — put together four solid runs on Whistler’s treacherous track and delivered Canada a gold medal.

Of course, Humphries commemorated the win with a trip to the tattoo parlour, adding a few more pieces to her artistic epidermal biography.

She got a replica of the gold medal on her back and shoulder, the date of the race on her right arm and a bobsled coming through a maple leaf on her leg.

Those works have company with the portraits of her parents on her right arm and a memorial work to her grandparents on her left leg with the words “Because you love me” written in Icelandic, honouring her heritage.

There’ pressure again, but it’s not the same.

Humphries may be more relaxed, which maybe makes her more dangerous. While much of the pre-race focus has been on three fast, BMW-engineered American sleds with track celebrity-turned-sledder Lolo Jones pushing USA-3, experts believe Humphries is the one they’ll have to catch.

She doesn’t disagree.

“It could be my race to win or lose, but it’s anyone’s race to win or lose,” she said. “We don’t go head to head. Once you’re on the track, that’s your time and everybody should look at it that way.”

History awaits her.

And if she makes it, Humphries has already considered a proper tattoo — or two.

“I have some ideas for sure,” she said. “But I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Just Posted

Red Deer city council aims to force larger non-profits to become more accountable

New bylaw defines which not-for-profits must pay for a business licence

Red Deer city council will seek public input on portable signage March 4

Council gave initial approval to retaining 100-metre separation distance

Smaller, more affordable, lots wanted in Red Deer’s Evergreen neighbourhood

Council approves first reading of requested lot-size changes

RDC’s new name to be unveiled in February

The next big milestone for Red Deer College is a new name,… Continue reading

Lacombe considering licensing cats

Council is expected to take a look at cat potential licensing regulations next month

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Opinion: Faith in immigration must be preserved

Canada has a deserved reputation for extending its arms to newcomers, but… Continue reading

Olympian Adam van Koeverden wins federal Liberal nomination in Ontario riding

MILTON, Ont. — Former Olympic flag-bearer Adam van Koeverden will be carrying… Continue reading

World champion Osmond says it’s “really nice” not to know what future holds

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Kaetlyn Osmond has a world title, Olympic medals… Continue reading

World economy forecast to slow in 2019 amid trade tensions

For Canada, the IMF’s estimate for growth in 2019 was 1.9 per cent, down from expected global growth of 3.5 per cent

Timberlake pops in on patients at Texas children’s hospital

DALLAS — Justin Timberlake has pulled some sunshine from his pocket for… Continue reading

UK police speak to Prince Philip about not wearing seatbelt

LONDON — British police have spoken with Prince Philip after the husband… Continue reading

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

Curtain rising Sunday night on total lunar eclipse

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The celestial curtain will be rising soon on… Continue reading

Most Read