SOCHI, Russia – The silver streak is over, thanks to Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse.
© The Canadian Press
Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse celebrate a gold-medal win at the Sochi Olympics.
The reigning Olympic women's bobsled champions retained their title Wednesday and gave Canada its first gold medal since Day 5 of the Sochi Games.
It appeared Humphries and Moyse, the dominant duo on the World Cup circuit, might be forced to settle for yet another Canadian silver. But despite trailing Americans Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams with two runs to go, the Canadians reached the top of the podium with a consistency that their rivals couldn't match.
''Winning gold is amazing, but walking away satisfied is better,'' Calgary native Humphries said. ''After the third run I knew that if we did the business we could be on top.''
The gold medal was the first for Canada in over a week. Dara Howell gave the country its fourth gold of the Games last Tuesday, but Canada hadn't topped the podium since. The medals continued to come in, however, with Canada winning six silver and two bronze during the golden drought.
The bobsled gold was Canada's only medal at Day 13 of the Olympics, but both curling foursomes ensured more hardware will be on the way. Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones beat Great Britain 6-4 in the women's semifinal, while Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., downed China 10-6 in the men's semifinal.
And Canada also moved closer to defending its gold in men's hockey, though it was far from easy. Canada had to hang on for a nail-biting 2-1 win over Latvia in a quarter-final that was expected to be a blowout.
At least Team Canada did better than the host Russians, who bowed out of the hockey tournament after a shocking 3-1 quarter-final loss to Finland.
Canada was in fifth in the overall medal standings with 18 (five gold, nine silver, four bronze). The United States leads with 23 medals, followed by host Russia and the Netherlands with 22 each. Norway, which has a leading nine gold medals, is in fourth with 20 overall.
Canada will have to perform exceptionally over the final five days of competition to have a shot at its goal of winning the most overall medals in Sochi, but Humphries and Moyse kept the country in the hunt.
While a medal was all but assured for Canada entering the final two runs, a gold was in serious doubt. Humphries and Moyse trailed Meyers and Williams by .23 seconds entering the final two runs.
While a quarter second is a comfortable lead by bobsled standards, Moyse thought there was still a chance to defend the gold.
''We said last night anything can happen at the Olympic Games,'' said Moyse of Summerside, P.E.I. ''You got to believe anything is possible. Even the last two days we knew where we stood but we couldn't stop believing because anything was possible.''
Humphries and Moyse were consistently fast on their final two runs, while the Americans struggled with control. In the end the USA-1 sled came up short on its final run, giving Canada the win by a tenth of a second.
''I had no idea how close I was in the last run,'' Humphries said. ''Heather did and said we closed the gap. I just gave it all we had and wanted one more clean run and see what happens. To get the gold and complete the job is awesome.''