Justin Kripps piloted his four-man Canadian bobsleigh crew to their first ever podium in Konigssee, Germany, winning the bronze on Sunday.
Kripps, of Summerland, B.C., captured his fifth international two-man medal on the 1,675-metre German track Saturday when he and Cam Stones (Whitby, Ont.) celebrated the silver. But the Canadian pilot had never slid onto the four-man podium in Kongissee.
That all changed Sunday when the 32-year-old Kripps and Stones completed the double-medal weekend while teaming up with Ryan Sommer (White Rock, B.C.) and Ben Coakwell (Saskatoon) to clock two, third place runs and secure the bronze with a time of 1:37.29.
“There have not been too many times that we have been on the podium in both the two- and four-man races on the same weekend so I am really pumped with the crew,” said Kripps. “We had great starts today. I made a couple of mistakes on the second run, but it was enough to hang onto the podium, so I am really happy.”
The crew got the sled in motion with a solid 4.87 push in the second run, allowing the Olympic two-man champion to take control of the 16-corner track that spirals down the Bavarian Alps.
“It feels great to be back on the podium for the first time since our great start to the season. We have been looking to get our rhythm back and knew we could be competitive on the track this weekend if we dialed in our pushes, and managed to drop our start time on the second push,” said Ryan Sommer following his first medal on a European track. “We did that by three hundredths in the second run, which gave Justin the speed he needed to get us down the track and in a podium spot.
“Our goal is to always push faster on that second run. We executed our game plan and accomplished our goal of being on the podium. It was awesome to do this in front of so many fans on who packed the braking stretch on this amazing track. They bring great energy on race day.”
The Canadians will still have to shave precious seconds off their start times if they want to take down the top German sleds. Explosive off the start posting the top-two start times in both runs, the German sleds pulled away from the field to lock up the top-two spots on the podium.
Francesco Friedrich, Candy Bauer, Martin Grothkopp and Alexander Schueller won gold with a time of 1:37.03.
Johannes Lochner, Benedikt Hertel, Christopher Weber and Florian Bauer were .10 seconds back in second at 1:37.13.
It was the seventh World Cup four-man medal of Kripps’ career, and third this season for the Canadian crew. The burly Canucks opened the season with back-to-back victories in the four-man sled in Lake Placid. Four of Kripps’ career four-man podiums have come on the American track. The same crew also won a bronze in the four-man at the 2019 World Championships in Whistler, B.C. But they have struggled to continue their medal-winning run since the holiday break.
“We had a couple of difficult weeks, but we got things coming together this weekend,” added Kripps, who now sits third in the Overall World Cup four-man standings. “We are looking to carry this momentum heading into St. Moritz. It is a longer track and I’m looking forward to getting there.”
The World Cup travels to the birthplace of the sliding sports in Switzerland, January 31 – February 2.
Four-Man Bobsleigh Results: https://www.ibsf.org/en/component/events/event/500262