NEWS
12/03/2016 15:02 EST | Updated 12/04/2017 00:12 EST

Canada's Humphries takes gold in season-opening bobsled World Cup

WHISTLER, B.C. — Canadian bobsled star Kaillie Humphries added another gold medal to her trophy case Saturday, finishing first in the season-opening World Cup on the track she won her first Olympic gold six years ago.

Humphries, of Calgary, and brakeman Cynthia Appiah of Toronto had a two-run time of one minute 46.53 seconds and were the fastest sled in both heats at the Whistler Sliding Center. 

Christina Hengster and Sanne Monique Dekker of Austria placed second in 1:46.77 and Americans Jamie Poser Greubel and Lauren Gibbs were third in 1:46.86.

Edmonton's Alysia Rissling and Melissa Lotholz of Barrhead, Alta., were fourth in 1:47.12.

Humphries won her second Olympic gold medal in Sochi in 2014, becoming the first female bobsledder to successfully defend her Olympic title.

Humphries and Appiah broke the track's start record, with a 5.09-second time in their first heat.

American star Elana Meyers Taylor and push athlete Kehri Jones were leading the competition in the first heat when their day ended in a crash. Jones was ejected from the sled, but both sliders escaped serious injury.

Earlier Saturday, Yun Sung-bin won the men's skeleton in 1:45.86 seconds. Russia's Alexander Tretiakov was second in 1:45.98, and Matt Antoine of the U.S. used the strength of a flawless second heat to grab the bronze in 1:46.22.

Yun crossed the finish line, took off his helmet and let out a celebratory yell. He held on for the win, even though Antoine had the fastest time in the second heat.

"I love this track," Antoine said. "It's fast, difficult, and every run here is a challenge. You have to work for every inch, and this is what I love about this sport."

The surprise might not have been who won, but rather who didn't even medal. Latvia's Martins Dukurs, the seven-time World Cup champion, was fourth — snapping a 21-race streak in which he finished either first or second in a World Cup race.

Barrett Martineau of Calgary was the top Canadian in 10th.

Dukurs last missed a podium in a World Cup on Dec. 13, 2013, when he finished eighth at Lake Placid. That's where the circuit is heading next, for racing in two weeks.

Antoine had a streak snapped as well — he hadn't medaled in any of his last 12 World Cup starts, going back to January 2015. He changed training regimens this winter in an effort to improve his time and form at the start, and saw immediate dividends Saturday.

"In this sport you can't give up time at the start if you want to be competitive at the finish," Antoine said. "It was frustrating going into the races last season knowing I had a disadvantage. Getting back into a program with Jon Carlock helped me get back on track, and now I walk to the line with confidence again."

Nathan Crumpton was 14th for the U.S., and teammate Kyle Tress took 20th.

— With files from The Associated Press