TORONTO - One of the more intriguing battles on the Canadian women's bobsled team revolves around who will serve as brakeman for reigning Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries.
The Calgary driver will have either Melissa Lotholz of Barrhead, Alta., or Toronto's Cynthia Appiah on the brakes for the World Cup season. Lotholz and Appiah have posted virtually identical times in recent push testing.
"The battle is extremely tight, we'll see how that plays out," Humphries said Wednesday at an event near Toronto's City Hall to announce the national World Cup team.
Humphries won Olympic gold in 2010 and 2014 with Heather Moyse of Summerside, P.E.I. Moyse recently announced plans for a comeback with the goal of helping one of Canada's young bobsledders achieve their Olympic dream.
The team hopes that Moyse will be ready in time to get at least one race in before Christmas. Canada has a chance to qualify three sleds in women's bobsled for the Pyeongchang Olympics in February, and the pairings for the Games may remain uncertain until early in the New Year.
"At the end of the day, it's down to the coaching staff, it's down to Bobsleigh Canada to choose the best people," Humphries said. "I want to be racing with the best brakemen that Canada has to offer come January and I want to be able to prove my position. I want my brakeman to know that I'm the best pilot for her as well, so together we are the strongest team.
"That's what it's going to take to win Olympic gold. So regardless of who that person is — we're all tested up until January — the best brakeman and best pilot should be put together. That's what we're working towards, is trying to figure that out."
Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton announced the 17-person World Cup bobsled team, the five-person NextGen bobsled team and the six-person World Cup skeleton team on the 100-day out mark from Pyeongchang.
Notable athletes on the men's bobsled team include Calgary's Lascelles Brown and Jesse Lumsden of Burlington, Ont.
"Our teams goals are completely clear: to win medals," said Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton high-performance director Chris Le Bihan. "We have not wavered from this goal throughout the Olympic quadrennial. This is a hungry team of athletes who know they can win when it matters most. We have one of the deepest pool of athletes this program has witnessed over the last three quadrennials, who all know what it takes to win.
"Led by a group of veterans who have delivered under the most intense pressure, these two teams will push each other, and be pushed by our development level athletes, over the next four months with the ultimate goal of standing on the Olympic podium and contributing to Canada's medal count in Pyeongchang."
The season-opening World Cup race begins Saturday at Lake Placid, N.Y. The final race in the Olympic qualification period will be the Jan. 8-14 event in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
The Winter Olympics are set for Feb. 9-25.
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