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Kaillie Humphries announces pregnancy during break from bobsled

Kaillie Humphries

YANQING, CHINA - FEBRUARY 14: Gold medallist Kaillie Humphries of Team United States celebrates during the Women’s Monobob Bobsleigh Heat 4 on day 10 of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at National Sliding Centre on February 14, 2022 in Yanqing, China. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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Three-time Olympic gold medalist Kaillie Humphries is pregnant with her first child, due next June, and plans to return to bobsled competition next season with an eye on a fourth Winter Games in 2026.

Humphries, a 38-year-old who won monobob’s Olympic debut last year, spent the last few years with husband Travis Armbruster on what she called a pregnancy journey. The last two years, they openly shared their IVF process — egg retrievals, embryo transfers and even her taking related medication while competing last season.

“The Olympic journey has prepared me a lot for this early, starting-a-family journey,” she said. “Going after things you don’t know if you’ll ever get (like) to the Olympics or get to be an Olympic gold medalist, but you’re chasing this dream, and it’s been the same going through the IVF process. You can’t control if it’s going to work or how it works, but the dream of becoming parents is still very much there, and you don’t give up, no matter what happens.”

Humphries, who was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2021, hoped to get pregnant soon after the February 2022 Olympics and take the 2022-23 season off.

As the months went on, she decided to compete and won one silver and one bronze medal at this past February’s world championships. She reached 10 career world championship medals between the two-woman and monobob, a record tally for women’s events. That was her most recent time in a sled.

She then had three embryo transfers, including one that resulted in a biochemical pregnancy, or a very early miscarriage. After the third one was unsuccessful this summer, Humphries faced a choice: try again or take a break to compete this season.

Humphries said she can essentially keep her competitive status if she sits out one year, but taking two years off would make a return more difficult.

She and Armbruster talked it over and decided in September to go all in on IVF. Their very next transfer, the fourth of 2023, was successful. They waited through the first trimester before making Monday’s announcement on social media.

“With each we’ve learned, you’re always hopeful that it could happen, and then you start to get a little reserved when it doesn’t happen time and time and time again,” she said.

Once back in a sled, her “very ambitious” goal is to compete at the 2025 World Championships in Lake Placid, New York. The focus is on the 2026 Milano-Cortina Olympics (though there is no active sliding track in Italy, so organizers are looking abroad for a venue).

In 2006, the last time Italy hosted the Winter Games, Humphries marched in the Opening Ceremony in Torino. She was later not chosen to be one of Canada’s two competing push athletes and vowed on the flight home to put her future Olympic destiny in her own hands by becoming a driver.

She went on to become the greatest female bobsled driver ever — the three Olympic golds, plus five world titles.

Humphries won the 2010 and 2014 Olympic two-woman titles while competing for Canada. She married Armbruster, a former U.S. bobsledder, in 2019 and switched nationality after saying she was verbally and emotionally abused by a Canadian coach.

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Justin Kosman