by Chris Dornan
January 25, 2014, KONIGSSEE, Ger. (ISN) – Carrying a track full of emotions weeks after the passing of his Baba and days before heading to his first Olympics a pilot, Canada’s Justin Kripps accomplished the unthinkable with Bryan Barnett, by winning their first World Cup bobsleigh race in Konigssee, Germany on Saturday.
“It is awesome. I can’t believe it,” said Kripps, who has been driving on the World Cup for just two years. “Things have been going pretty well so I had a goal of getting in the top-10 today, but I am a bit in shock for sure. All of the Canadians and athletes from the other countries were at the bottom jumping around and screaming for me. It was amazing.”
After posting the fastest time in his first bomb down the German track, the Summerland, B.C. native thought of his Baba Agnes who passed away on his 27th birthday (January 6), and relied on words from Olympic medal-winning teammate, Lyndon Rush, to get him through the most nerve-wracking time of his athletic career. Kripps and Barnett held on to the top step of the podium after clocking a two-run time of 1:39.71.
“I had that great first run and couldn’t stop thinking that I could win this thing,” said Kripps. “Lyndon pulled me aside and said ‘anytime trophies, medals, victories or anything gets in your head slap yourself and focus.’ I’m so glad he did that because I’d be lying if that didn’t keep coming into my thoughts. I know Baba was there with me today. That one was for her and Gedo (Stephen)!”
Rush, of Humboldt, Sask., must have followed some of his own advice. The 33 year old teamed up with Calgary’s Lascelles Brown to win his first World Cup medal of the season. The two Canucks clocked a third-place time of 1:40.03.
Switzerland’s Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann slid to the silver medal with a time of 1:39.86.
Calgary’s Chris Spring and Jesse Lumsden, of Burlington, Ont., placed eighth at 1:40.31.
But the day belonged to Kripps, who helped push the legendary Pierre Lueders to four World Cup podiums in the four-man race leading to Vancouver 2010. Since making his Olympic debut as a brakemen, he switched to the driver’s seat after getting home from Vancouver, and has slowly progressed into one of the top pilots in the country. Welcoming Edmonton’s Bryan Barnett into his Canadian sled this year, the laid-back Canadian has posted career-best times each week with a handful of top-10 finishes.
“There are a combination of things that I think is the reason for my success this year,” said Kripps, who is originally from Hawaii and names his sleds after two Hawaiian Goddesses.
“Having Bryan is huge to give us that good push, but I’ve now had some time in the Eurotech sled so I’m developing a good feel for it. Also getting better runners this year has helped a lot too.”
With the Olympic Winter Games now two weeks away, anything may be possible for the Canadian duo now having a medal under their belt.
“I don’t have much experience in Sochi, but this win sure gives me confidence,” said Kripps. “I think this shows anything can happen in bobsleigh. If I can put two good starts and two good runs together, who knows what may be.”
The bobsleigh World Cup continues on Sunday in Konigssee with the men’s four-man and women’s races.
Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton is a non-profit organization and the national governing body for the sports of bobsleigh and skeleton in Canada. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Adidas, Eurotech – Viking Engineering, BMW Canada, The Globe and Mail, Conceptum Sport Logistics, Therapeutica – along with the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and SAIT Polytechnic. Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton develops Olympic and world champions. Please visit us at www.bobsleighcanadaskeleton.ca.
Complete Results: www.fibt.com
Top-Five Men’s Two-Man Bobsleigh Results:
1. Justin Kripps, Summerland, B.C./Bryan Barnett, Edmonton, CAN, 1:39.71; 2. Beat Hefti/Alex Baumann, SUI, 1:39.86; 3. Lyndon Rush, Humboldt, Sask./Lascelles Brown, Calgary, CAN, 1:40.03; 4. Cory Butner/Chris Langton, USA, 1:40.04; 5. Rico Peter/Thomas Lamparter, SUI, 1:40.11
Other Canadian Results:
8. Lyndon Rush, Humboldt, Sask./Lascelles Brown, Calgary, CAN 1, 1:49.80; T13. Justin Kripps, Summerland, B.C./Bryan Barnett, Edmonton, CAN 3, 1:50.16