To say Konigssee, Germany is Justin Kripps’ home-away-from-home is an understatement.
The Olympic champion from Summerland teamed up with Cam Stones (Whitby, Ont.) to win his fourth World Cup two-man medal on the 16-corner course in the Bavarian Alps with a silver on Saturday. His lone World Championship medal also came in Konigssee.
“I just love the big S curves here. The first time I drove here, I came with Pierre Lueders who was teaching me to drive and he explained the track really well then — how to hit these corners to get the good speed you need to the finish,” said Kripps, whose first career World Cup two-man medal and victory also came in Konigssee in 2014.
It was Kripps’ 10th career World Cup two-man podium to go along with his World Championship silver in Koniggssee and his Olympic title. He also locked up his Overall World Cup two-man title last year with a bronze medal on this track.
“I usually feel like I’ll get a good result here, but more than that I just like sliding here. I like most of the tracks around the world, but I just have a lot of fun on this track.”
It was the second straight silver medal for the 32-year-old Kripps and Stones in as many starts this season on the World Cup.
Leading after the first run for the second-straight week, the Canadian duo slid to second place with a two-run time of 1:39.12, just .11 behind Germany’s Francesco Friedrich and Martin Grothkopp in a repeat showing from last week in Altenberg.
Kripps and Friedrich finished in a dead heat in two-man action to share the gold medal at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
“It was another good challenge against him. It’s lots of fun to have that tie, and then to be out here battling with him each week on the World Cup,” said Kripps. “Our focus really is trying to prepare for the World Championships in Whistler. Hopefully, once we get out of Germany we will be able to get a win against them.”
Germany’s Johannes Lochner and Christian Rasp finished third on Saturday with a time of 1:39.44.
The Canadians pulled the fastest start which propelled them to the top downtime in the opening blast down the 1,675-metre track.
“To be competitive and pulling top start times is what we need to win medals,” added Kripps. “Cam is doing a great job. With all of the retirements we’ve had after the Olympics, I didn’t know where we would be, but Cam has stepped up. He has been fully committed, is working hard and I’m really proud of him.”
Friends off the track and roommates on the road, the two leaders of the men’s squad showed immediate chemistry when they jumped in a sled together for the first World Cup start in the post-Olympic year last week.
“Justin really makes things easy for me. He is the most calm person I have ever met, and he just motivates you to want to give him a big push,” said the 27-year-old Stones, who added he will be reviewing tape to shed fractions of a second off their start time.
“We have such a good vibe on the team right now and it is just a lot of fun to come to the track.”
Hamilton’s Nick Poloniato and Calgary’s Ryan Sommer powered the other Canadian sled in the two-man race to a ninth-place time of 1:40.03.
Canada’s two entries in the women’s bobsleigh race both slid into the top 10 on Saturday. Edmonton’s Alysia Rissling reunited with Kristen Bujnowski, of Mount Brydges, Ont., to finish as the top Canucks in ninth spot with a time of 1:43.06. De Bruin, of Stony Plain, Alta., teamed up with Janine Mccue, of Cochrane, Alta. to finish in 10th with a time of 1:43.18.
The World Cup continues on Sunday in Konigssee with the four-man competition.
“I’m still getting the hang of my four-man sled. We are trying a number of new things with it,” said Kripps. “I’ll be looking for a big push from the guys and will try to lay down a couple of good runs myself for them.”
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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