Summerland’s Justin Kripps is selling T-shirts in order to raise money for his bobsleigh career.
“I need to raise $5,000 just to pay for my team dues for this year,” he said.
In the past, the team dues had been paid for the team, but since Bobsleigh Canada lost a major sponsor, raising the money has fallen to the athletes.
Kripps, 25, has been a bobsleigh athlete since 2006, beginning as a push athlete on Pierre Lueders’ team. He is planning to compete as the driver in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
In addition to the team dues, Kripps said there are other costs involved in preparing for Olympic-level bobsleigh competition.
Training costs are also expensive, since training continues through most of the year.
“You have to train for it if you want to be good enough at that level,” he said.
The long training and competition schedule means Kripps cannot take on work except in the summer.
Kripps was in the competition at the last Olympic games in Vancouver and Whistler in 2010.
This year, he has moved from a role as a brakeman on the team to become the driver.
“There’s a lot more responsibility than when I was a brakeman — and a lot more expense,” he said.
The shirts will be available in Summerland. They can also be ordered online at justinkripps.ca/store. Some have already been pre-sold.
In addition to the shirt sales, Kripps will have a presence in Summerland as a result of a partnership with the Summerland Asset Development Initiative.
Connie Denesiuk, a member of the SADI board, said the arrangement will benefit the youth organization and Kripps.
“He’s a fine example of working hard and working towards a goal. He’s a great model for the youth,” she said.
To follow Kripps’ progress, visit justinkripps.ca or facebook.com/JustinKripps.