KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — The Sochi Olympics women's bobsled race had to end the way it did, with this season's top two pilots seeking gold and history, with drama accompanying every twist and turn on the 17-curve track until the final sled crossed the finish line.
Canada's Kaillie Humphries, the 2013-14 overall World Cup points champion, was the second to last sled off the hill in the fourth and final heat — and going for her second consecutive Olympics gold medal.
USA's Elana Meyers, who finished one point behind Humphries went last, with her brakeman Lauryn Williams trying to become just the second person to win gold medals in the Summer and Winter Olympics in different disciplines.
Humphries and Meyers are competitors and friends. They worked out together last summer, knowing the only way to improve was to push each other.
On the fourth and final run, Humphries put together her second outstanding run of the night Wednesday, finishing in 57.92, making up a .11 deficit and edging Meyers by .10 for gold, becoming the first woman to win two bobsled golds since the sport joined the Olympic program in 2002.
USA-2 pilot Jamie Greubel and brakeman Aja Evans secured bronze in what turned into a three-sled race after the first two heats on Tuesday and a two-sled race after the third heat on Wednesday.
Humphries turned the final heat into a showdown. In fact, when the two worked out last summer, they called it a "Battle Royale." Humphries chopped a .23 second deficit after two heats into a .12 second deficit with one heat left.
Meyers had a great push in the third heat, tying her start record (5.12 seconds on this track). But she had a bumpy drive — her worst heat of the race — and needed a stellar ride in the fourth heat to secure gold.
She didn't get it. However, this is the first time the USA had two sleds win medals, and Williams is still part of Olympic history. She is just the fifth person to win Winter and Summer Olympics medals in different disciplines.
The third U.S. sled, pilot Jazmine Fenlator and brakeman Lolo Jones, finished 11th.
The bobsled medals were the 22nd and 23rd for the U.S., which led the overall medal count. The Americans had one more medal than Russia and Netherlands.
Earlier in the day, U.S. skier Ted Ligety won gold in the men's giant slalom. The U.S. team has won at least one medal every day in Sochi. Only three nations (Germany, Soviet Union and East Germany) have accomplished that feat at the Winter Olympic Games.