Kaillie Humphries drove her sled across the finish line Saturday in Lake Placid, N.Y., then raised her right hand and waved to the crowd of boisterous well-wishers as she slowed to a stop.
Last place was hers, but so was history.
The two-time Olympic women's champion from Canada — wearing socks bearing the phrase "girl power" — became the first person to drive an all-female team against men in a four-person World Cup bobsled race. Humphries and sledmates Cynthia Appiah, Genevieve Thibault and Melissa Lotholz finished 17th in the 17-sled field at Mount Van Hoevenberg by a huge margin, and weren't disappointed in the least.
"It was a lot of fun," Humphries said. "As high-performance as it gets, and I've seen the highest peaks possible, it's sport and if you're not having fun, why are you doing it?"
Humphries finished 4.77 seconds — an enormous margin in a sliding sport — behind winner Maximilian Arndt of Germany, who finished in 1 minute, 49.70 seconds.
Humphries had no hope of winning for reasons of physics, not skill: The weight of her sled and crew was about 300 pounds less than most of other sleds, meaning there was no way to generate the speed and momentum the others could.
Settled for nearly perfect: Novak Djokovic, who beat Rafael Nadal 6-1, 6-2 in the Qatar Open final. Djokovic has reached the final in 16 consecutive tournaments, winning 12.
Made a three-pointer: Lionel Messi, who got his first hat trick of the season — the 33rd of his career — and helped Barcelona beat Granada 4-0. Messi is favored to win his fifth Ballon d'Or on Monday.
Foreshadowed? Victoria Azarenka, who beat Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-1 to win the Brisbane International, her first win since August 2013. She won the Australian Open that year.
Beat the best: Joey Mantia, who edged four-time Olympic medalist Shani Davis in the 1,500 at the U.S. Long Track Speedskating Championships in West Allis, Wis. Mantia finished in 1:45.11.
Spieth extends lead at Kapalua
Sharp as ever in the first PGA Tour event of the year, Jordan Spieth capped off the third round with a 10-foot eagle putt for an 8-under 65. He had a five-shot lead over Brooks Koepka going into the final day at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii.
Spieth ran off four straight birdies on the front nine to keep control. Koepka had a career-best 63 and at one point got within one shot of Spieth. But the world's No. 1 player holed a 50-foot birdie putt on No. 12 and eagled No. 18.
Sponsor steps up to help Rio
Facing severe budget cuts in almost all aspects of the Games, the Rio de Janeiro Olympics have been boosted by Panasonic signing on as a sponsor of the Opening Ceremony and Closing Ceremony.
Panasonic is one of the International Olympic Committee's top sponsors, but taking a role in the ceremonies is unusual, and reflects the reality of Brazil's dire economy.
The country is in the midst of a steep recession, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is fighting impeachment, and inflation is running at over 10 percent. Hanging over this is a massive bribery scandal involving state-run oil giant Petrobras.
Rio organizers are trying to cut about $500 million in expenditures to stay within a $1.9 billion operating budget.
AROUND THE HORN
College football: Bob Shoop agreed to leave Penn State and become Tennessee's defensive coordinator. Shoop has coordinated units that have been ranked among the top 25 nationally in total defense each of the past five seasons.
Cross-country skiing: Martin Johnsrud Sundby all but clinched his third consecutive Tour de Ski title, winning the penultimate stage in Cavalese, Italy, to open up a seemingly insurmountable lead of nearly three minutes. In the women's race, Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg increased her overall lead over Norwegian teammate Therese Johaug by finishing second to Heidi Weng, another Norwegian.
Skeleton: Martins Dukurs of Latvia continued his perfect World Cup season, winning a race in Lake Placid for his fourth victory.
Tennis: Defending women's champion Petra Kvitova withdrew from the Sydney International, the second consecutive week that the two-time Wimbledon winner has pulled out of tournaments because of a stomach virus.
17A team from Australia won the Hopman Cup — a mixed-team tennis event always held in Perth, Australia — for the first time in 17 years. Nick Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova had singles wins over Ukraine to lead Australia Green to the title. Australia entered two teams this year.