If anyone understands how difficult it is to get to the top of one’s game it’s Kaillie Humphries, Calgary’s two-time Olympic gold medal bobsledder. When she was 15 she broke both of her legs skiing; at 17 she broke her collarbone in a terrifying bobsleigh accident. She didn’t race in the 2006 Olympics after her coach benched her and she even considered joining the England team after the snub.
Those setbacks would have caused a lesser athlete to throw in the towel, but Humphries never thought about quitting. If anything, it’s thanks to those struggles that she’s made it to where she is today. “Every athlete goes through challenges,” says Humphries who, along with sledding partner Heather Moyse, became the first women ever to win back-to-back Olympics gold bobsleigh medals. “I’ve learned more from all my mistakes, from all the unfortunate events that have happened throughout my career, than from the successes.”
Eight months after her Sochi, Russia win, Humphries is still as determined to succeed as ever, but not necessarily on the bobsleigh track. She’s now trying to dominate her busy schedule of speaking engagements and celebrity appearances.
“It keeps me relevant,” Humphries says of her post-Olympic activities. “Which, on the business end of things, is what we really want to focus on – trying to build my brand and my image.”
In that department Humphries has little to fear. The 28-year-old’s platinum locks and numerous tattoos make her hard to forget. Beyond the image, though, Humphries is articulate, beams positivity and has a success story that would inspire just about anyone.
“Knowing that your best is the very best in the world is an indescribable feeling.”
Humphries was drawn to the sport at just 17, but it wasn’t clear if she would continue after she broke her collarbone. Fortunately, her parents’ “never give up” attitude was deeply instilled in their daughter and that’s served her well her entire career.
In 2010, Humphries realized her life-long dream of winning her first Olympic gold medal. “The minute you realize you’ve won, every single emotion goes through your head,” she says. “It’s really hard to believe that a goal and a dream that you’ve had since you were a kid has just been achieved.”
She admits she couldn’t have done it without her friends and family behind her, as well as some financial help from her longtime sponsors at Investors Group – her Dad is a longtime Investors Group employee. She’s not yet sure if she’ll go for a third medal in 2018, but there’s no doubt she likes being the top bobsledder on the planet. “Knowing that your best is the very best in the world,” she says, “is an indescribable feeling.”