Kripps, Whitby’s Stones & crew slide to bronze medal in 4-Man Bobsleigh final

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Published February 19, 2022 at 11:59 pm

Whitby brakeman Cam Stones was confident in Canada’s medal chances going into the final runs of the Olympic 4-Man Bobsleigh final, despite the absolute slimmest of margins ahead of rivals from German and Latvia.

“We had good starts, good pushes,” the McMaster grad said Friday night, while declaring the crew piloted by Olympic veteran Justin Kripps would have to repeat those performances Saturday night. “It’s going to take exactly what we did today, two fast pushes, good runs and then we were racing the track, not the Germans. If we beat the track tomorrow, we’ll be okay.”

Saturday night Kripps and his crew threw down a good third run but watched as his third-place position become even more precarious after strong runs by both the German #3 sled piloted by Christopher Hafer and the Latvian team, piloted by Oskars Kibermanis, reduced the lead to 8/100ths of a second and 15/100ths of a second, respectively.

On the final race, Kripps showed off the ice in the veins by delivering a stellar 59.27 run to hold off Hafer by 6/100ths of a second and earn a bronze medal for Canada and prevent a German sweep.

But about those Germans…

Francesco Friedrich, perhaps the greatest male bobsledder in history, wrapped up the gold medal to complete a sweep of the 2-Man and 4-Man golds for the second straight Olympics. His closest rival and the silver medalist in both of those events here in Beijing at the Yanquing Sliding Centre, Johannes Lochner, finished second.

For Kripps, who shared the gold medal with Friedrich in the 2-Man four years ago in PyeongChang, Saturday night’s performance was one for the ages.

“Absolutely huge,” he told the CBC after the race. “I’m at a loss for words. They boys did amazing and we couldn’t be happier.”

Cam Stones

Kripps’s crew included Stones, his brakeman in the two-man event, and Ryan Sommer and Ben Coakwell.

Chris Spring’s 4-man crew turned in a strong final run to finish ninth after being 11th after three runs. Taylor Austin was 21st after three runs and did not qualify for the final heat.

The bronze is Canada’s 26th medal in Beijing, tied for the nation’s second-best ever Olympic performance.

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