Junior Reporter: Two-Woman Bobsledding

March 2, 2018

Junior Reporter Celeste M. watched the Winter Olympics last week to catch the two-woman bobsledding event. In case you missed it, she has the lowdown on what happened, who won, and all of the other history-making action wrapped up nicely in her report below!

The two-man bobsled competition ended in PyeongChang, and for the second time in bobsled Winter Olympics history, Canada and Germany tied. Things couldn’t get more interesting than that, right? I’m happy to report to you that they can! Immediately following the men’s competition, the two-woman competition started, and it was as amazing as ever! Elana Meyers Taylor and Kaillie Humphries battled it out for gold while the Nigerian and Jamaican bobsled teams made history. Cool, right? So let’s see who our medalists were!

Run number one and all future runs took place in the Alpensia Sliding Center, which was used for bobsledding, luge, and skeleton. The two-woman competition started one day after Canada and Germany’s legendary tie in the men’s competition. The women had a lot to live up to, but they managed to raise the bar even higher. The countries in the top-five positions were Canada, two US teams, and two German teams. They had all won gold medals in bobsledding prior to the 2018 Winter Olympics, but Lauren Gibbs from the United States was a rookie when it came to bobsledding—she was the only first-time competitor in Pyeongchang in the women’s competition.

Interesting to note that Jamie Greubel Poser (second US team) was competing in her adopted younger sister’s birth country of South Korea!

via @thewhitehouse

Jamaica competed for the first time in the women’s bobsled competition, and Nigeria was the first African nation to compete in any event in the Winter Olympics. No bobsled pilot has ever won three Olympic gold medals, but Kaillie Humphries of Canada had won two consecutive golds, and everyone in the crowd surely wondered if she would become the first pilot ever to get three gold medals. Humphries’ brakeman, Phylicia George, was also the first Canadian black woman to compete in both the Winter and Summer Olympics (she was previously a hurdler). Their opponent, Elana Meyers Taylor from the US, was considered by many to be the best athlete competing this year. The two friends faced off, and needless to say, the stage was set for an amazing competition!

In the first run, Canada started the heat and ended with an amazing score of 50.72, setting the stage for the day. Jamie Greubel Poser, who was racing for the second US team, started off slowly and ended with a disappointing time of 50.59. Germany’s third competing team was slow as well and ended with a time of 50.63. For the time being, Canada had a sturdy standing at number one! That is, until Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs took the lead with a track record time of 50.52! No one else beat them, and they ended the night on top! The Jamaican bobsled team raced for the first time and ended with a score of 51.29, which was not bad at all! In the second run, Canada received a time of 1 minute and 41.6 seconds, which was quickly topped by Germany by 0.04 seconds! American Olympian Jamie Greubel Poser started 0.01 seconds faster than Germany, and after passing the second line, was 0.01 seconds slower. The countries tied after the next line, and they only had the finish line after that. Everyone was on the edge of their seats, and the second US bobsled team came up short by 0.02 seconds! The second German team then beat the first one with a beautiful time of 1 minute 41.26 seconds. Everyone had high hopes when Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs began their descent down the track. However, they came out 0.07 seconds short. These scores were only temporary though, because the two-woman competition still had two runs left!

via @Canadian Olympics Committee

After a day of resting, the competition resumed on February 21st with the medal event. The fourth and final run would serve as the last score for the athletes competing in the two-woman race, and the stakes were high! Nigeria went first in the final run and ended as the 20th team, but they finished with a bang as they reached their top speed in their last run at 81.5 mph! They finished with a time of 3 minutes and 39.6 seconds. Jamaica was next in 19th place and finished with a faster time of 3 minutes and 29.94 seconds, a full 2.57 seconds ahead! Not bad for the nation’s first time competing! And then there were the top five teams. German pilot Stephanie Schneider held the top time of 3 minutes and 22.97 seconds, and American medalist Jamie Greubel Poser was first to challenge. Unfortunately, Poser and her brakeman Aja Evans were slower by 0.05 seconds, leaving Schneider in first place.

Canadian Challenger Kaillie Humphries was next, and she came up 0.08 seconds faster, knocking Schneider to second place. Humphries’ biggest threat was next. After the results of the third run, Elana Meyers Taylor was currently placed second, right behind Germany’s Mariama Jamanka. Taylor and her brakeman, Lauren Gibbs, came out 0.37 faster than Kaillie, putting them into first place and turning the fourth run into their best of 2018! There was only one sled left, and that belonged to German athletes Mariama Jamanka and Lisa Buckwitz. As they pushed off, the stakes were high. They started off by cutting it close—a full 0.5 mph behind Elana Meyers Taylor. They kept pushing forward though, and eventually they reached 85 mph, propelling them forward into first place! Germany won gold! Mariama Jamanka and Lisa Buckwitz became first-time Olympic medalists! This left the United States with silver and Canada with bronze.