Whitby bobsledder a strong medal contender on Canada #1 in Beijing

By

Published January 28, 2022 at 1:09 pm

Cam Stones and his pilot, Justin Kripps are flying high at exactly the right time as the duo prepare for the Bobsleigh competition at the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing as serious medal contenders.

Kripps, the defending gold medalist in the two-man event, took on Stones as his brakeman for this Olympic cycle and the pair have been electric, especially this season, racking up six World Cup medals, including three in the two-man.

The last two races have been especially promising, with the pair claiming a bronze at the IBSF World Cup in Winterberg, Germany January 9, followed by a silver in the season finale a week later in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Sitting third after the first heat in St. Moritz, the just turned 30 year-old Stones provided the horsepower to move into second.

“It was a privilege and honour to be in Justin’s sled on this track,” said Stones following his 11th career two-man medal. “To be successful in St. Moritz is such a bonus. Justin’s runs were the best I’ve ever been a part of, and to finish with a track record, silver medal and a Crystal Globe feels so good.”

That second place finish was good enough to claim that Crystal Globe as the number two team in the overall standings. Germany’s Francesco Friedrich, who shared Olympic gold with Kripps in 2018, won his seventh straight race to run away with the season title, compiling 1,703 points to 1,530 by the Canadians.

For former rugby player and avid fly fisherman Stones, who hails from Whitby, the medals achieved this season may seem like he’s an overnight success, but it’s really been eight years of hard work to get to this point.

“Our success this season is definitely many years in the making. This crew has spent an entire Olympic cycle together, and the success we are having and hope to continue to have is a result of that bond and commitment to each other,” Stones said from China, where he and Kripps are very much aware of their medal favourite status.

“Our expectations from Beijing are to walk away with a medal in two- and four-man. We are in a great position to do so and have all the tools to make that dream a reality,” he promised. “I definitely don’t feel any added pressure being in the back on Justin’s sled. He creates such a great environment, and it is comfortable to compete and succeed in. His accomplishments speak for themselves, and his aura brings out the best of his teammates.”

This is the second Olympics for Stone, who finished 12th in the four-man in Pyeongchang four years ago. This time around he will be on Kripps’ sled for both the two-man as well as the four-man, along with Ryan Sommer and Ben Coakwell.

They will be considered Canada #1 in both events and Stones said they are ready for the challenge, both mentally and physically.

“Physical preparation really never ends. Throughout the season, we plan and periodize our training to perform at key moments. It’s very rare to feel like you are fully recovered physically, which makes the mental side that much more important. Mentally, we just try to focus on our controllables and put ourselves in the best mindset to compete and succeed.”

Growing up in Whitby, rugby was his first love and Stones got his start playing for Ajax Wanderers, before enjoying a successful varsity career at McMaster University in Hamilton (Political Science), as well as with Ontario Rugby and the national team, where he was an assistant captain at the U20 Junior World Rugby Trophy competition in 2012.

Two years later he attended his first bobsled scouting combine at age 22 and a year later made his international bobsleigh debut in January 2015 in a North American Cup race.

“Rugby was definitely my first competitive love growing up. It is where I found my footing in the sporting world and met some great people and coaches such as George Burford, Mike Clayton, Don Pettitt and Seamus Beattie that pushed me in the right direction and continue to be close to me to this day.,” Stones said. “Sinclair Secondary, Ajax Wanderers, and Ontario rugby all supported me and developed me into the person I am today, and I am forever grateful for that. Bobsleigh came to me at a transitional point in my sporting career where I was ready to take on new challenges. I certainly continue to miss rugby, but I am happy with the decision I made.”

Stones made his World Cup debut in January 2016 as a member of Chris Spring’s four-man crew and competed in a World Cup two-man race for the first time a month later with pilot Nick Poloniato, with his world championship debut coming later in the year in the non-Olympic team event.

Stones moved to the World Cup circuit fulltime in 2016-17 and earned his first medal, a four-man bronze, in Lake Placid with Spring, Lascelles Brown and Samuel Giguere.

The 2022 Winter Olympics begin Friday with the opening ceremonies, though the curling competition starts Wednesday. The Bobsleigh competition begins February 14.

indurham's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising