KOENIGSSEE, Germany – Canada’s Justin Kripps and Jesse Lumsden delivered when it counted, racing to a silver medal in two-man bobsled at the world championships on Sunday.
“It is a huge, huge day for Jesse and I,” said the 30-year-old Kripps. “It is awesome for us to have this result at the right time. My first world championship medal at my favourite track.”
Kripps, from Summerland, B.C., and Lumsden, from Burlington, Ont., have been struggling all season, but the Canadians laid down the second fastest run in the first of four heats and never looked back, finishing in a combined time of three minutes 17.91 seconds.
“It’s a big day,” said Lumsden while sipping a celebratory beer. “Consistency is king. The start, the drive _ it is all about consistency. It feels great. I’m just in a pub by myself having a beer soaking it all in and I couldn’t be happier.”
Germany’s Francesco Friedrich was fastest in both runs to extend his lead and beat Kripps and Lumsden for his fourth straight world title.
Friedrich and brakeman Thorsten Margis held a 0.52-lead from Saturday’s opening heats, then clocked 49.17 seconds and 48.94 for a combined time of three minutes 16.71 seconds after four runs.
Germany’s Johannes Lochner was 1.25 back in third with Joshua Bluhm, ahead of Oskars Kibermanis and Matiss Miknis of Latvia.
Nick Poloniato of Hamilton and Edmonton’s Neville Wright were fifth.
Aside from a silver medal in Lake Placid prior to the Christmas break, the Canadian duo has struggled to meet expectations since the return of Lumsden into the top Canadian sled. The former CFL running back took the last two years off from sport to rest his body, and gain experience working in the corporate world.
“It is a bit of a relief,” Lumsden said. “You don’t feel pressure but when you aren’t performing you start to question yourself as athletes, and if you have done the work needed to be the best. I think the recent rule changes by the IBSF (International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation) exposed a few teams that were doing things they shouldn’t have been and that has made a difference in levelling the playing field.”
The IBSF made a change with regards to a sandpaper protocol that is done by officials on each of the sled runners prior to the race.