WHISTLER, B.C.—Team Kripps came up a hair short of adding to Canada’s medal haul after finishing fourth in the four-man bobsleigh race on the final day of the World Cup in Whistler, B.C.
Kripps, of Summerland, B.C., along with his crew of Jesse Lumsden (Burlington, Ont.), Alex Kopacz (London, Ont.), and Seyi Smith (Ottawa) came three-hundredths short of the podium on the 1,450-metre track Saturday night, clocking a two-run time of 1:42.40.
“It went okay, but today I could have been better. We really didn’t find a lot of speed on the track today so we’ll have to look at our equipment set up and do some testing,” said Kripps, who was in seventh spot after the first run. “I know I could have driven better today. I lost a bit of time on the track for sure.”
Kripps’ newly formed five-star crew rocked the fastest starts in each of the two heats and also threatened the start record on the track.
“It is amazing having these guys. They are doing such a great job on the start,” added the 30-year-old, two-time Olympian. “We’ve never had four-man starts close to the record so I know we can expect some really good four-man results in the future.”
Russia’s Alexander Kasjanov, IIver Khuzin, Vasiliy Kondratenko and Aleksei Pushkarev clocked a golden time of 1:41.89.
Lamin Deen, Ben Simons, Toby Olubi and Andrew Matthews, of Great Britain, celebrated the silver medal with a time of 1:42.17. Germany’s Nico Walther, Kevin Kuske, Kevin Korona and Eric Franke edged out the Canadians for the final spot on the podium with a time of 1:42.37.
Two other Canadian sleds also hit the start line. Nick Poloniato (Hamilton), Lascelles Brown (Calgary), Ben Coakwell (Saskatoon), and Derek Plug (Calgary), placed 11th at 1:42.60. Chris Spring (Calgary), Josh Kirkpatrick (London, Ont.), Cam Stones (Whitby, Ont.), and Neville Wright (Edmonton) finished 13th at 1:42.66.
Earlier in the day, Canada’s Dave Greszczyszyn came up short in his bid to charge onto the podium for the first time in his World Cup career.
The 38-year-old from Brampton, Ont. had a career-best opening run that put him in third place, but he dropped four spots after a difficult second trip down the 16-corner track. The Grizz finished with a time of 1:45.54.
“I was feeling really confident. I had a good push and good first run. When I saw the three I was really happy,” said the substitute school teacher. “I kept the same game plan for run two. I thought my run was pretty similar, but I think it was just slightly slower ice.”
Greszczyszyn’s best finish on the World Cup came two years ago when he stormed from behind to finish fifth at the Whistler Sliding Centre. Today was new territory for the veteran slider on the elite sliding circuit.
“I’ve been in that position before with team selections so I tried to remember those feelings,” added Greszczyszyn. “I just fell back a bit. This is the best field I’ve seen in years. I need to just keep training and build from this. It is all about working towards Pyeongchang.”
Korea’s Sungbin Yun is in a good place with just over two months to go until the world descends on his home country for the Olympic Winter Games. Yun set a new track record at 51.99 in his first blast down the track, leading him to a golden time of 1:44.34.
Russia’s Nikita Tregubov was second at 1:45.09, while Tomass Dukurs fought back into medal contention in his second run, stopping the clock at 1:45.33 for third.
Canada’s young gun – Kevin Boyer of Sherwood Park, Alta. – had his career-best finish in just his second season on the World Cup. The 24 year old posted a two-run time of 1:46.21. Calgary’s Barrett Martineau rebounded after a disappointing first run that left him in 20th place. Martineau cleaned things up in his second trip down the track to finish 15th (1:46.82).
The World Cup now takes a week off before resuming in Winterberg, Germany.