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Defending champions Humphries, Moyse sit 2nd after two runs of women's bobsled

The United States USA-3, brakeman Lolo Jones, walks off the track after their first run during the women's two-man bobsled competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

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The United States USA-3, brakeman Lolo Jones, walks off the track after their first run during the women's two-man bobsled competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia - Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse don't know how much work they still have to do if they want to defend their Olympic title.

It's just the way they like it.

Calgary's Humphries and Moyse, from Summerside, P.E.I., sit 0.23 seconds behind leaders Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams of the United States after a pair of runs Tuesday.

"We don't really look at times so I don't even know how big the gap is. And we don't want to know," said Humphries.

The gap isn't insurmountable, but the pair will need Meyers and Williams to slow down during Wednesday's final two runs after the Americans set a start and track record of 57.26 seconds in their first heat.

Meyers and Williams finished with a combined time of 1:54.89, just better than the 1:55.12 mark set by Humphries and Moyse.

Humphries wasn't going to be bothered by what she didn't know.

"We just try to have fun. Knowing where other people are just complicates that," she said.

Another American sled was third, with Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans are third, 0.56 seconds back of their teammates.

Edmonton's Jenny Ciochetti and Chelsea Valois of Zenon Park, Sask., were 13th.

Humphries and Moyse, who took gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games, were favourites to repeat after winning three World Cup events this season and edging Meyers for the overall championship by one point.

But the stakes are much higher in Sochi, and although the two are close friends after training and rooming together last summer, Meyers and Humphries are going hard for gold.

That Meyers and Williams are in the lead is a surprise given her shaky start to the event. The pair crashed during their initial training run and the following day they damaged their sled after hitting a wall near the finish.

That's all behind them now.

"It feels pretty good but we've got a lot of work to do," said Meyers, who won bronze in Vancouver pushing for Erin Pac. "Kaillie's a great driver. Jamie's driving great as well. It's not over."

The Americans' speed can be credited to Williams, a former sprint champion who only moved to bobsled six months ago.

Williams, a two-time sprint medallist in the Summer Olympics, is attempting to join Eddie Eagan as the only athletes to win gold medals in different sports in both the Winter and Summer Games.

It wasn't long ago that Williams made her first harrowing ride down an icy mountain track, unsure if she wanted to stick with a sport so foreign from the one she'd known.

She's feeling at home now.

"Any time I step on any track, ice track, regular track, any kind of track, my goal is to win," she said. "So I'm not surprised at all. We prepared well, we did everything we're supposed to do and we know we're as good as the rest of the field."

— With files from the Associated Press.

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