Canada’s men’s and women’s bobsleigh squads made a statement on Saturday while sliding to the gold and bronze medals at the World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y.
One year ago Justin Kripps and his crew became the first Canadians ever to win a four-man race in Lake Placid, N.Y. On Saturday, the burly bobsled quartet did it again. In the women’s race, Christine de Bruin reunited with World Championship medal-winning teammate, Kristen Bujnowski, to win the bronze.
Kripps (Summerland, B.C.), Ryan Sommer (White Rock, B.C.), Ben Coakwell (Saskatoon) and Cam Stones (Whitby, Ont.) celebrated their second career World Cup victory in the big rig, dusting the field with a time of 1:49.50.
“We managed to win a close one here last year. This time we were in a new sled and really wanted to lay some good runs down. We did that and it validates the work we’ve been doing,” said the 32-year-old Kripps, who is the reigning Olympic champion in the two-man event.
It was Kripps’ sixth career four-man medal on the World Cup. His fourth on the punishing 1,680-metre beast of a track that winds down Mount Van Hoevenberg which is situated in Northeastern New York’s Adirondacks.
“I just love the intensity here. It doesn’t get any better than Lake Placid. It is intimidating for some. It is fast, and it makes you show how you can drive. It is what bobsleigh is all about,” added Kripps, who also has a World Championship bronze medal in the four-man discipline on his resume.
The Canadians finished .39 seconds ahead of the Latvians. Oskars Kibermanis, Lauris Kaufmanis, Arvis Vilkaste and Matiss Miknis clocked a time of 1:49.89 for the silver medal. Austria’s Benjamin Maier, Marco Rangl, Markus Sammer and Danut Ion Moldovan were third at 1:49.97.
Named Team of the Year at the 2019 Canadian Sport Awards, Kripps credited the work of the fellas providing the horsepower at the start of the 20-corner test which the Canadians conquered with the fastest down times in each of their two runs.
“I was really impressed with the boys pushing 5.02 and 5.04. Those are big time starts on this track,” added Kripps. “It is a testament to their athleticism and to the teamwork we have been doing. We have been together two years now are just having so much fun together. We’ve been working hard. We spend so much time together. They are my best friends and it makes it so enjoyable to be winning medals together.”
Kripps used Ben Coakwell and Cam Stones to push him towards the bronze-medal step of the podium in each of the two-man races last weekend. The entire crew will be looking to extend their medal-winning streak when they are back on the start line Sunday in Lake Placid for the final race before the holiday break.
Canadian Girls Battle to Third Career World Cup Podium
A determined Canadian sled driven by 2018 Olympian, Christine de Bruin, battled to the bronze medal in the women’s race.
The 30-year-old de Bruin (Stony Plain, Alta.) and Kristen Bujnowski put down the fastest down time in the final heat to capture their first World Cup podium of the season with a two-run time of 1:54.25.
“It feels pretty really good and nice to have Buj back in the sled with me as well. We’ve had success here before, so it was nice to get back on the podium together,” said de Bruin.
One week ago, de Bruin was sitting in second spot after the first run in Lake Placid with rookie brakeman Dawn Wilson but dropped to fourth, finishing just .02 seconds off the podium.
She turned things on its head this go around. The Canadians were fourth after the opening blast down the track but jumped onto the podium after putting down the fastest time in the second run at 57.52.
“I always try really hard to just be happy and I feel I drive better when I’m happy, but today after that first run I just got angry. I said ‘We are going for this. We have to be on the podium and I’m not going to be happy with anything less,” said de Bruin. “I knew we could do it.”
It was the first race this season for Bujnowski, of Mount Brydges, Ont. The former track and CrossFit athlete has been a beast on the start line where she has emerged as one of the top brakemen in the country.
Recovering from a calf injury, the 27-year-old Bujnowski brought the heat to the line, propelling the Canadian sled to its third World Cup medal over the last two years, and second in Lake Placid. They won the silver on the 1980 Olympic track one year ago.
“I just really like the rhythm and technicality of (Lake Placid),” added de Bruin. “You have to be on all the time here and I like that. We are going to build from this and are looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Kaillie Humphries and Lauren Gibbs, of the United States, won the race with a time of 1:54.03. Germany’s Kim Kalicki and Erline Nolte were second at 1:54.18.
The World Cup wraps up on Sunday in Lake Placid with an additional four-man race.
Four-Man Bobsleigh Results: https://www.ibsf.org/en/component/events/event/500205
Women’s Bobsleigh Results: https://www.ibsf.org/en/component/events/event/500206