Kripps took advantage of learning from the best

Summerland's Justin Kripps learned a lot about bobsleigh from former teammate and now retired coach Pierre Lueders

Justin Kripps gets some air during a test run in Whistler.

Justin Kripps gets some air during a test run in Whistler.

Having Pierre Lueders as a bobsleigh coach is like having Tiger Woods teach you how to golf said Justin Kripps.

“Not all great athletes can be great coaches, but Pierre had a very precise way of explaining things and made sure we all understood what he was saying before moving on,” the Summerland native said.

Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton announced on May 23 that Lueders was leaving his post as national team development coach in May.

“I have dedicated 22 years of my life almost exclusively to the sport of bobsleigh in Canada — as an athlete and a coach — but I feel now it is time to take a break, look at other career options, and most importantly spend some much-needed time with my family,” said Lueders, a five-time Olympian in a release on www.bobsleigh.ca. “My goals when I joined the sport in 1989 was to leave the Canadian Bobsleigh team in a better place than when I started. Working with world-leading coaches, countless talented teammates and mentoring aspiring Olympians, I believe I have accomplished that.”

As a brakeman for Lueders, Kripps said he was very demanding.

“Pierre’s team was always expected to be in the top-three in the world so it taught me to work hard and make sure I did my part,” said Kripps. “He’s pretty different as a coach than he was as an athlete. Definitely more laid back as a coach because he didn’t have to get fired up and into the zone for races.  At the same time, I could definitely see his competitive edge shining through when he watched us race as a coach.”

Kripps said he learned too many things from Lueders to list but the main thing was what it takes to be a world-class bobsledder.

“Pierre is Canadian bobsleigh. He’s been a legend in the sport for 22 years and has completely shaped the Canadian program and greatly influenced the entire sport,” said Kripps, whose Twitter handle is @justinkripps. “It has been amazing to compete with him and even better to learn how to pilot the sleds from him.”

Anyone interested in following Kripps’ progress can do so by going to www.justinkripss.ca or on Twitter. Kripps is also selling T-shirts as a fundraiser for his team, which can be purchased from his website.