|Date||20 – 21 February 2018|
|Location||Olympic Sliding Centre, Alpensia Resort, Mountain Cluster, Daegwallyeong|
|Participants||41 from 12 countries|
|Format||Four runs, total time determined placement. Only the best 20 teams contest the final run.|
|Venue details||Curves: 16|
Length: 1,376 m
Start Altitude: 930 m
Vertical Drop: 80 m
Women’s bobsleighing had been dominated by Canada’s Kaillie Humphries in recent years, and it was hard to see her doing anything but collect her third consecutive gold at PyeongChang, and become the first person, male or female, to win three consecutive bobsleighing golds. She went to the Games slightly ahead of Elana Meyers Taylor of the USA, and Germany’s Mariama Jamanka at the top of the world rankings.
Not only was Humphries’ Olympic pedigree in her favour, but she came into the Games having won the 2017-18 World Cup by just 40 points from Meyers Taylor. Humphries had also been runner-up in the 2016 and 2017 World Championships, but now had a new partner, Phylicia George, an Olympic hurdler in 2012 and 2016. Humphries’ former Olympic partner, Heather Moyse, was also looking for a third consecutive gold, and was acting as brakewoman for Alysia Rissling in Korea. Despite being favourite, Humphries faced steep opposition from the German crews, led respectively by Jamanka and Stephanie Schneider, and the USA sleds, piloted by Meyers Taylor and Jamie Greubel Poser. The Americans finished first and third at the 2017 World Championships and were second and third at the Sochi Olympics.
After the Jamaican 4-man team had made history at the 1988 Calgary Games, the Jamaican women emulated them by competing for the first time at PyeongChang, and were not just going along for the ride, particularly after a seventh-place finish in the Winterberg round of the 2017-18 World Cup. Just two days before the start of official training, however, the Jamaican team’s appearance was in jeopardy after their German-born driving coach and Olympic gold medalist Sandra Kiriasis, quit her post, and with it took the team’s sled, which she maintained was acquired by her on the team’s behalf, and she was legally responsible for it. The dispute was resolved at the last minute, however, when the top Jamaican beer company Red Stripe purchased the sled and donated it to the team. Not put off by the internal squabbling, the Jamaican pair of Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell finished ninth on the second official training run. They named their sled “Mr. Cool Bolt” in honour of the country’s leading sprinter Usain Bolt.
Also making history in the women’s event was the Nigerian team, who became the first African Olympic bobsleigh team, male or female. THe pilot was Seun Adigun who, like her other two squad members, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga, studied in the United States and all were top class sprinters, with Adigun competing at the London 2012 Olympics. Onwumere won a gold and silver medal at the 2015 African Games.
The Americans Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs were in blistering form on the first run, setting new start and track records. Their 50.52 seconds, however, was just 2/100ths faster than the German pair of Jamanka and Lisa Buckwitz. Jamie Greubel Poser, who posted some quick times in official training, finished third on 50.59 with one of the pre-race favourites Kaillie Humphries, in fifth place, 0.20s behind the leaders.
Despite setting another new start record on the second run, Meyers Taylor had to forfeit the lead as she swapped places with Jamanka, who turned her 0.02s deficit into a 0.07s lead after a 50.72 run. Greubel Poser and Stephanie Schneider also swapped places with the German, moving into third place. Despite setting the heat’s third fastest time, Kaillie Humphries remained in fifth place, with the British pair Mica McNeill and Mica Moore occupying sixth place for the second successive run, which came on the back of their last two official training runs when they finished second and joint second.
Meyers Taylor, and the former discus and hammer thrower Jamanka, continued to dominate in heat three. The German was first to go and set a new track record with a 50.49 but, next to go, was Meyers Taylor and she too, once again, set another track record and equaled her own start record, as she pulled back 3/100ths on Jamanka to trail by 4/100ths going into the final round. Two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries put in her best run and equaled the old track record, as her 50.42 pulled her into the bronze medal position, while Stephanie Schneider dropped from third to fifth. Jamie Greubel Poser, winner of the PyeongChang World Cup race in 2017, stayed in fourth place 0.4s behind the leader.
Unlike the 2-man competition, which reduced the field after heat three, all 20 women’s pairs went in the fourth and final heat. Nigeria were the first to go, and they had the satisfaction of completing all four runs without mishap, as did the pioneering Jamaicans, who recorded the 13th fastest time in heat four. One of the most satisfying runs, however, must have been that of the British pair of McNeill and Moore, who finished in eighth place. Funding for the British pair was dropped in September 2017 and, in order to compete in PyeongChang, they raised around £50,000 from crowd funding. By finishing in the top 10 in Korea, however, they were assured of funding in the future.
It was clear after the first three heats that the gold medal would be going to either Jamanka or Meyers Taylor, but the battle for bronze was still very much on the cards, particularly after Stephanie Schneider set the fastest run of the heat at 50.70 and put herself into contention. That changed when Humphries posted a 50.77 to guarantee bronze, or maybe better if Jamanka or Meyers Taylor were to slip up.
Meyers Taylor laid down the marker after a run of 50.73 and this left the German needing 50.76 or better to take gold, which she did in style, by equaling Schneider’s fastest run, and win the gold medal by 7/100ths from the American who, yet again, failed to win the one major gold medal to have eluded her. Having won silver at Sochi in 2014 and bronze at Vancouver in 2010, it was now a second silver in PyeongChang. It was the second time Germany had won the 2-woman title, the last time being at Turin in 2006, when the recently departed Jamaican coach Sandra Kiriasis and Anja Schneiderheinze won the gold medal.
|Pos||Nr||Bobsleigh||NOC||Time||Run 1||Run 2||Run 3||Run 4|
|1||–||Germany I||GER||3:22.45||50.54 (2)||50.72 (1)||50.49 (2)||50.70 (=1)||Gold|
|Mariama Jamanka • Lisa Buckwitz|
|2||–||United States I||USA||3:22.52||50.52 (1)||50.81 (2)||50.46 (1)||50.73 (3)||Silver|
|Elana Meyers Taylor • Lauren Gibbs|
|3||–||Canada I||CAN||3:22.89||50.72 (5)||50.88 (3)||50.52 (3)||50.77 (4)||Bronze|
|Kaillie Humphries • Phylicia George|
|4||–||Germany III||GER||3:22.97||50.63 (4)||50.93 (5)||50.71 (5)||50.70 (=1)|
|Stephanie Schneider • Annika Drazek|
|5||–||United States II||USA||3:23.02||50.59 (3)||50.99 (8)||50.59 (4)||50.85 (5)|
|Jamie Greubel Poser • Aja Evans|
|6||–||Canada III||CAN||3:23.63||50.81 (7)||50.95 (=6)||50.83 (7)||51.04 (6)|
|Alysia Rissling • Heather Moyse|
|7||–||Canada II||CAN||3:23.89||50.94 (9)||50.91 (4)||50.75 (6)||51.29 (12)|
|Christine de Bruin • Melissa Lotholz|
|8||–||Great Britain I||GBR||3:24.07||50.77 (6)||50.95 (=6)||51.16 (11)||51.19 (7)|
|Mica McNeill • Mica Moore|
|9||–||Switzerland I||SUI||3:24.30||50.86 (8)||51.16 (10)||51.07 (9)||51.21 (=9)|
|Sabina Hafner • Rahel Rebsamen|
|10||–||Austria I||AUT||3:24.51||51.23 (13)||51.04 (9)||51.00 (8)||51.24 (11)|
|Christina Hengster • Valerie Kleiser|
|11||–||Belgium I||BEL||3:24.61||51.03 (10)||51.27 (13)||51.10 (10)||51.21 (=9)|
|Elfje Willemsen • Sara Aerts|
|12||–||Belgium II||BEL||3:25.25||51.24 (=14)||51.28 (14)||51.53 (17)||51.20 (8)|
|An Vannieuwenhuyse • Sophie Vercruyssen|
|13||–||Germany II||GER||3:25.28||51.21 (12)||51.20 (=11)||51.46 (15)||51.41 (14)|
|Anna Köhler • Erline Nolte|
|14||–||Republic of Korea I||KOR||3:25.31||51.24 (=14)||51.20 (=11)||51.32 (12)||51.55 (=16)|
|Kim Yu-Ran • Kim Min-Seong|
|15||–||Romania I||ROU||3:25.53||51.17 (11)||51.40 (15)||51.39 (13)||51.57 (18)|
|Maria Constantin • Andreea Grecu|
|16||–||Russian Olympic Committee II||ROC||3:25.72||51.29 (=16)||51.47 (17)||51.41 (14)||51.55 (=16)|
|Aleksandra Rodionova • Yuliya Belomestnykh|
|17||–||Austria II||AUT||3:25.84||51.49 (18)||51.41 (16)||51.51 (16)||51.43 (15)|
|Kati Beierl • Vici Hahn|
|18||–||Jamaica I||JAM||3:25.94||51.29 (=16)||51.50 (18)||51.83 (18)||51.32 (13)|
|Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian • Carrie Russell|
|19||–||Nigeria I||NGR||3:29.60||52.21 (19)||52.55 (19)||52.31 (19)||52.53 (19)|
|Seun Adigun • Akuoma Omeoga • Ngozi Onwumere|
|AC||–||Russian Olympic Committee I||ROC||3:25.16||51.01 (AC)||51.49 (AC)||51.29 (AC)||51.37 (AC)||1|
|Nadezhda Sergeyeva 2 • Anastasiya Kocherzhova|