LAKE PLACID, NY—Canada’s bobsleigh athletes stormed the podium, pulling three medals out of Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid, New York on Friday afternoon.
For just the second time ever, Canada placed two teams on the men’s two-man bobsleigh podium. Justin Kripps and Jesse Lumsden celebrated the silver medal, while Chris Spring and Lascelles Brown captured the bronze. Kaillie Humphries and Cynthia Appiah continued their winning ways, sliding to the bronze in women’s racing.
Team Kripps previously shared the podium in 2014 with Team Lyndon Rush when Kripps drove to his first World Cup victory, and medal, in Konigssee, Germany. Rush was third.
“It was a great day for Canada,” said Kripps. “It was nice to be in the winner’s box and see it come down to one-hundredth of a second between us. We get along really well and always push each other so it was nice to see that result.
The only other time Canada placed two men’s sleds on the World Cup podium came in 1993 when Pierre Lueders and Chris Lori finished one-two in four-man racing in Calgary.
With 32-year-old Jesse Lumsden, of Burlington, Ont., providing the horsepower, Kripps, of Summerland, B.C., laid down a brilliant second run to climb to his first silver medal ever on the World Cup, clocking a two-run time of 1:49.74 on the 1,455-metre challenging chute that meanders down the Adirondacks.
“The first run I made a big mistake in the exit of corner 12. I just went back to the top and the coaches gave me a couple of tips,” said the 29-year-old Kripps. “It was a pretty awesome second run. We knew we had to lay down a perfect run. We did what we needed to do and it is just really nice to be back on the podium.”
It was Kripps’ third career two-man medal, and first with Lumsden on the brakes. Kripps also drove to a bronze in four-man action on the Lake Placid track last year.
“This is a big one for Jesse and I. We were looking to get in the medals in the first half of the season. It didn’t happen in Whistler so we are pumped to get the silver today,” added Kripps.
Chris Spring and Lascelles Brown, who were sitting in third spot after their first rip down the Lake Placid track, held on to their bronze-medal position when all 19 sleds crossed the finish line. The Calgary-based duo posted a combined time of 1:49.75.
“It’s huge for us,” said the 32-year-old Spring. “It’s awesome to be on the podium with Kripps and hopefully we can get Polo (Nick Poloniato) up there too. I spent a lot of time driving here in Lake Placid when I was with Australia. I really enjoy this track. The ice was so fast today. It was record ice so it is great to be able to do well here.
“We have new two- and four-man sleds this year so this gives us a lot of confidence knowing the equipment is good. With fast starts and good equipment we kind of have the full package. It will be nice to carry this momentum into the four-man race. I know the guys are really excited and I hope we can get on the podium together.”
American’s Steven Holcomb and Samuel McGuffie topped the Canadian party on the podium after posting a two-run golden time of 1:49.47.
Hamilton’s World Cup rookie, Nick Poloniato, teamed up with Calgary’s Derek Plug to finish in 13th place with a time of 1:50.74.
The track to the podium continued for the Canadians in the women’s bobsleigh race.
Calgary’s Kaillie Humphries and Toronto’s Cynthia Appiah grabbed their second-straight podium in as many races this season in the women’s race.
The Canadian duo posted the third-fastest times in each of the two heats to clock a bronze-medal time of 1:53.05. It was the sixth World Cup medal for Humphries in Lake Placid, bringing her overall career total to 39.
“It was a good race with tough competition,” said Humphries, who added Appiah to her squad this fall. “The ice was extremely hard, extremely slick so controlling the sleds has been a challenge all week. We had a couple of timing issues at the start and I struggled with corners one, two and three today. The runs weren’t perfect by any means, but I thought they were decent.”
The top-two American sleds stomped some authority while successfully defending their home track.
Jamie Greubel Poser and Aja Evans put down the top-two start and run times to win the gold medal at 1:52.02. Elana Meyers Taylor and Lolo Jones rebounded after a crash in Whistler two weeks ago to win the silver medal, clocking in at 1:52.16.
“We knew they would be good on their home track. We just wanted to bring our “A” game to match theirs. They started and drove extremely well,” said Humphries. “There is definitely room for improvement at the start. Cynthia is still very new to us and we are going against brakemen on those American sleds who were both at the Olympics. Cynthia wasn’t even racing last year so it is going to take time to continue learning at this level, and just having more time competing. The potential is definitely there and we’ll keep getting better.”
Canada’s rookie pilot, Alysia Rissling, backed up a fourth-place result in her World Cup debut at the Whistler Sliding Centre two weeks ago with another top-five finish.
Sitting in fourth place after her first run, the 28-year-old Edmontonian, along with Quebec City’s Genevieve Thibault, dropped one spot to finish fifth at 1:53.73.
Edmonton’s Christine de Bruin and Catherine Medeiros, of Mascouche, Que., also climbed into the top-10, finishing eighth with a time of 1:54.41
Barrett Martineau Leads Canadian Skeleton Men in 14th
The World Cup got underway in Lake Placid with the men’s skeleton race. Calgary’s Barrett Martineau was the top Canadian for the second straight week, this time finishing in 14th place with a time of 1:48.75. Dave Greszczyszyn, of Brampton, Ont., finished 17th at 1:49.26, while the rookie on the World Cup, Kevin Boyer, did not qualify for the second heat, placing 24th.
Russia’s Alexander Tretriakov captured the top spot on the podium with a time of 1:46.49. Matthew Antoine, of the United States, thrilled the hometown crowd with a silver-medal performance, stopping the clock at 1:46.92, while the winner in Whistler, Korea’s Sungbin Yun, slid to the bronze with a time of 1:46.94.
The World Cup wraps up on Saturday with women’s skeleton and four-man bobsleigh action.