Justin Kripps and the Canadian bobsled team had a great weekend in Germany this weekend, with a silver medal finish on Saturday and a bronze medal on Sunday.
On Jan. 25, Kripps, a Summerland native, continued his love affair with the bobsleigh track in Konigssee by winning his fifth career medal on the German track.
The 32-year-old Olympic champion teamed up with Cam Stones (Whitby, Ont.) to win the silver medal Saturday posting a two-run time of 1:39.17.
“That was a fun one,” said Kripps following his 15th career World Cup two-man medal. “It was such a tight race, so I was really happy to get back on the podium.”
The lone Canadian sled was forced to fight back for a spot on the podium following some bad luck at the start of the opening run on the 1,675-metre track where they clocked the second-fastest push time.
“We came out of the groove on the first run and hit the side wall pretty good, so I was happy to see we were fourth at the bottom and not completely out of it,” added Kripps, who now sits second overall in the World Cup two-man standings. “Cam gave me another good push in the second run. I just wanted to get in and hold the ropes to make sure I didn’t get kicked out to the side again.”
Sitting just 0.09 seconds off the podium after the first heat, Kripps was determined to drive to his third podium of the season.
“I knew if I had a nice smooth run, and hit my lines then I’d be good,” added Kripps, who posted the second-fastest final run time at 49.61.
Kripps’ first career World Cup podium in the driver’s seat came on the Konigssee track in 2014 when he won the race just before the Sochi Olympic Winter Games. He also slid to a bronze medal in 2015, but he also locked up his 2018 Overall World Cup two-man title last year with a bronze medal on this track. His first career World Championship medal in 2017 also came in Konigssee.
“I have so much fun driving this track and to be able to say that at this stage of my career is a good thing. I just love the big ‘S’ curves here. The first time I drove here, I came with Pierre Lueders who was teaching me to drive and he explained the track really well then – how to hit these corners to get the good speed you need to the finish,” said Kripps.
On Sunday, Jan. 25, Kripps was back on the track, piloting the four-man team, to their first-ever podium in Kongissee, winning the bronze.
Kripps and Stones completed the double-medal weekend, teaming up with Ryan Sommer (White Rock) and Ben Coakwell (Saskatoon) to clock two third-place runs and secure the bronze with a time of 1:37.29.
“There have not been too many times that we have been on the podium in both the two- and four-man races on the same weekend so I am really pumped with the crew,” said Kripps. “We had great starts today. I made a couple of mistakes on the second run, but it was enough to hang onto the podium, so I am really happy.”
The crew got the sled in motion with a solid 4.87 push in the second run, allowing the Olympic two-man champion to take control of the 16-corner track that spirals down the Bavarian Alps.
The same crew also won a bronze in the four-man at the 2019 World Championships in Whistler, B.C. But they have struggled to continue their medal-winning run since the holiday break.
“We had a couple of difficult weeks, but we got things coming together this weekend,” said Kripps, who now sits third in the overall World Cup four-man standings. “We are looking to carry this momentum heading into St. Moritz. It is a longer track and I’m looking forward to getting there.”
The Canadians will still have to shave seconds off their start times if they want to take down the top German sleds. Explosive off the start posting the top-two start times in both runs, the German sleds pulled away from the field to lock up the top-two spots on the podium.
It was the seventh World Cup four-man medal of Kripps’ career, and third this season for the Canadian crew. The Canucks opened the season with back-to-back victories in the four-man sled in Lake Placid, where Kripps earned four of his career four-man podiums.
The World Cup travels to St. Moritz, the birthplace of the sliding sports in Switzerland, Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.
Regional Editor, Kelowna Bureau
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