Carrying the label Olympic champions hasn’t been too heavy a burden for Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse.
The women’s two-man bobsled champions from the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver were on hand Monday as 16 athletes were named to Canada’s team for the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.
“I’ve had an amazing time as the champion and I hope to hold the title for another four years,” said Humphries. “Being in a leadership role is something I had to accept.
“I had to adapt to all the philosophies that come along with it. I’ve had to learn. I really have no ideas what I’m doing, but I’ve had great mentors not only within the sport but from the Canadian Olympic team. It’s been a great four years and I hope to make it another great four years.”
After Vancouver, Moyse took a break from bobsled to try other sports, but the two were reunited this season and look to be gold medal contenders again. They are coming off a first-place finish last week at Lake Placid, N.Y.
The week before, with Moyse nursing a back problem, Humphries had seen her run of 15 straight podium finishes end in Utah.
Humphries, from Calgary, and Moyse, from Summerside, P.E.I., as well as Jenny Ciochetti of Edmonton and Chelsea Valois of Zenon Park, Sask., were officially named to the women’s team.
Olympic bronze medalist Lyndon Rush of Humboldt, Sask. will lead a men’s squad that also has David Bissett, Neville Wright and Bryan Barnett of Edmonton, Lascelles Brown and Chris Spring of Calgary, Jesse Lumsden of Burlington, Ont., Cody Sorenson of Ottawa, Ben Coakwell of Saskatoon, Justin Kripps of Summerland, B.C., James McNaughton of Newmarket, Ont., Tim Randall of Toronto and Graeme Rinholm of Medicine Hat, Alta.
Four athletes — Luke Demetre of Halifax, Sam Giguere of Sherbrooke, Que., Emily Baadsvik of St. Stephen, N.B. and Kate O’Brien of Calgary — are in contention for the final two spots on the team that will be decided in January.
Humphries and Moyse were not the favourites going into the Vancouver Games, but pulled out a rousing win on home soil.
They will go into Sochi among the favourites, but Moyse said that won’t change their mindset.
“It’s important to focus,” she said. “We still have four World Cups before the Olympics.
“If we start looking too far ahead to the Olympics and taking things for granted, it’ll slip out of our fingers. If we focus on each race as it comes and then treat Sochi like it’s just the last race of our season and not making it any bigger than just another race, then I think we’ll be able to accomplish great things and maybe win another Olympic gold medal. I think it’s possible.”
Humphries said the bobsled run in Sochi will be a challenge.
“It’s completely different from Vancouver or a lot of tracks we’ve been on,” she said. “It has three uphill sections, which is brand new for I’d say 98 per cent of people on tour.
“Nagano in 1998 was the last track we had with uphill sections. It’s fairly short and the start will play a critical role. It’s really going to come down to who has put all the pieces together in the best way possible.”