Olympic champion bobsledder Kaillie Humphries could get the opportunity to pilot a 4-man sled this season.
Bobsleigh’s world governing body (FIBT) today announced 4-man bobsleigh competition can include mixed gender teams. The FIBT told Olympic.ca the event will start in the upcoming season and any combination of men and women is possible.
Canada’s Humphries led the mixed gender request and was elated with the announcement, “I’ve competed on every stage possible, it’s a challenge I think is necessary and one that I’m willing and ready to take on. This is why I put the proposal forward and I’m so happy they accepted,” she told Sportsnet 590 in a radio interview.
“We follow the spirit and movements of our time. There is a strong belief in the FIBT that men and women can compete together in 4-man,” said FIBT President Ivo Ferriani on their website.
The most likely place to see women in the mixed event would be in the pilot position. Humphries also told Sportsnet 590 she has been training 4-man sleds in anticipation of having to pilot a ‘whole different beast’. The 4-man sled is longer and heavier compared to the 2-man she has more experience with. Humphries will continue to compete in women’s 2-man competition this season, giving her a busier schedule at World Cups.
Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton’s CEO Don Wilson is also welcoming of today’s announcement, “Any rule change in the sport that provides greater opportunity for athletes to participate is a good thing,” he said. As for how likely it will be to see Canadian women in 4-man sleds this season, Wilson mentioned existing FIBT minimum experience standards as one of many factors BCS will consider.
Biathlon, luge, ice dance and figure skating pairs are other examples of winter sports with mixed gender events.
READ: “Women’s four-man is something I’m going to start adamantly pushing for,” Humphries after gold at Sochi.