Summerland’s Justin Kripps and his Canadian bobsleigh crew picked up their first-ever world cup four-man win in Lake Placid New York on Saturday.
The team made up of Kripps, Cam Stones, Ben Coakwell and Ryan Sommer shocked the competition by bouncing back from a first heat that left them in fourth place to edge out a Latvian crew for the top spot.
“That was crazy. It was just an awesome day with the boys,” said Kripps. “I thought after the first run we had a good shot. I knew the boys could push faster than we did in the first run, and they did. I’m just so happy for all the team.”
A strong second-run start propelled the Canadians to victory. The crew’s start in the second run was clocked at 5.03 seconds the third fastest in the competition.
The Canadians finished a hair ahead of Latvia’s Oskars Kibermanis, Janis Strenga, Arvis Vilkaste and Matiss Miknis. The Latvians finished with a time of 1:49.61 which the Canadians outpaced by only .07 seconds.
“When I came down and saw the time, I knew we had a good shot,” said Kripps. “We have been working really hard on the four-man. I haven’t had much success in the past, but the crew is really coming together and have been pushing well. We are just starting to gel right now, and we will build on this momentum to the final races on home ice (Calgary and Whistler).”
Saturday’s medal ceremony marked the fifth time Kripps has stood on a world cup podium for his feats in the four-man bobsleigh. He had three silver medals and a bronze last year; the third-place finish came on the same Lake Placid track which he picked up gold on.
Kripps’ teammates and fellow Olympians Stones and Coakwell were a part of his World Cup successes over the last two seasons. Saturday’s runs got rookie teammate Ryan Sommer his first World Cup medal.
“This feels so awesome. It is my first time in Lake Placid and first year on the World Cup tour so for my first medal to be gold is amazing,” said Sommer. “After the first run, we felt it was in our hands to get on the podium.
“We knew if we stepped it up on the push, Kripps could throw down a really good run and it worked out.”