Following a shaky start at the 2012 Bobsleigh World Championships, Summerland’s Justin Kripps has a World Championship bronze medal to add to his growing collection.
At the last World Cup event held in Calgary Feb 11 to 12, Kripps, with brakeman Derek Plug, showed their potential with two top-10 finishes (eighth in the two-man and nineth in the four-man events). This was a confidence booster going into his first ever World Championships as a driver. The World Championships is the event of the year for the bobsleigh athletes taking the place of the Olympics in the non-Olympic years. After a solid week of training, Kripps was disappointed with his first heat in the two-man event and was placed 21st going into the second of four heats. However, each time down the track was an improvement and he finished with a very creditable 12th-place finish in the final heat placing him 17th. All the top racers were in attendance and USA’s Steve Holcomb repeated his 2010 Olympic gold medal performance winning the USA’s first ever World Championship in the two-man event. Canada’s Lyndon Rush piloting Canada 1 with brakeman Jesse Lumsden took the silver.
It was in the team competition where Kripps really shone. Canada’s Lyndon Rush was forced to withdraw due to illness and Kripps was substituted into the Canada 1 team. The Canada 2 team had to be dropped. Canada’s John Fairbairn led off in skeleton, followed by two strong runs by the Canadian women, Kaille Humphreys and Jenny Ciochetti (who had earlier in the week won gold in the womens bobsleigh) and Melissa Hollingsworth who, is a serious medal contender in the upcoming women’s skeleton competition, later this week). When it came to Kripps’ turn, the pressure was on. He rose to the challenge, put in his best run of the weekend and he and brakeman Tim Randall secured the bronze medal for Canada. USA 1 took gold with Germany 1 earning the silver. Video coverage including a podium interview with Kripps can be seen on the International Federation of Bobsleigh-Skeleton website at www.fibt.com.