Justin Kripps and Alex Kopacz Edged Off World Cup Bobsleigh Podium in Fourth

—Dave Greszczyszyn slides into ninth, Barrett Martineau has best result of year finishing 12th in men’s skeleton 

KONIGSSEE, Ger.—Justin Kripps and Alex Kopacz came agonizingly close to winning their first World Cup medal together after a fourth-place finish in men’s two-man World Cup bobsleigh racing in Konigssee, Germany.

The Canadian duo were edged off the podium by .01 on a track that feels like home for the nation’s top pilot from Summerland, B.C. The Canadian sled clocked a time of 1:39.51. 

“It came right down to it,” said Kripps. “We had good pushes today and overall I thought the drives were really good. I just had trouble with the echo corner all week and I didn’t quite get it again today so that is where you can make up the hundredth. It was pretty close, but that is bobsleigh racing.”

Germany’s Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis clocked the winning time at 1:38.77. Latvia’s Oskars Melbardis and Daumants Dreiskens slid onto the silver-medal step on the podium with a time of 1:39.05, while Germany’s Nico Walther and Marko Huenbecker edged out the Canucks for third at 1:39.50.

A new brakeman in 25-year-old Kopacz, of London, Ont., not to mention a new sled, Kripps is looking to be a regular podium contender this year.

Both of the 28-year-old Kripps’ World Cup medals have come in Konigssee. He won the gold in 2014, and finished third in the land of Bavaria one year ago.

“I feel confident on all the tracks we race, but I just have a good feeling here,” added Kripps. “I am able to blast out of those S curves with lots of speed and you need to do that to be successful here. It is a relatively short track so if you drive those S curves well you can be good here. I just seem to have good rhythm and carry my speed to the bottom.” 

Calgarians Chris Spring and Derek Plug also hit the start line but did not qualify for the second run with the top-20 after placing 22nd.

Earlier in the day two Canadians suited up for the men’s skeleton race.

Dave Greszczyszyn, of Brampton, Ont., remained solid in the top-10, clocking a two-run time of 1:42.51 to finish ninth. 

Calgary’s Barrett Martineau had his best result of the young season, sliding into 12th spot with a time of 1:42.78.

Latvia’s Martins Dukurs remained unbeaten in three races. Dukurs punched the clock at 1:40.28. Russia’s Alexander Tretiakov slid to the silver medal, posting a time of 1:40.71. Korea’s Sungbin Yun rounded out the men’s podium in third with a time of 1:41.16. 

The World Cup continues on Sunday in Konigssee with four-man bobsleigh racing. 

Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton is a non-profit organization and the national governing body for the sports of bobsleigh and skeleton in Canada. With the support of its valued corporate partners –– BMW Canada, Conceptum Sport Logistics – along with the Government of Canada, and Own the Podium. Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton develops Olympic and world champions. Please visit us at www.bobsleighcanadaskeleton.ca.  

Complete Results: www.fibt.com

Top-Five Men’s and Canadian Results:

1. Francesco Friedrich/Thorsten Margis, GER, 1:38.77; 2. Oskars Melbardis/Daumants Dreiskens, LAT, 1:39.05; 3. Nico Walther/Christian Poser, GER, 1:39.50; 4. Justin Kripps, Summerland, B.C./Alex Kopacz, London, Ont., CAN, 1:39.51; 5. Rico Peter/Thomas Amrhein, SUI, 1:39.53

Canadian Results:

DNQ. Chris Spring/Derek Plug, Calgary


Top-Five Men’s and Canadian Skeleton Results:

1 Martins Dukurs, LAT, 1:40.28; 2. Alexander Tretiakov, RUS, 1:40.71; 3. Sungbin Yun, KOR, 1:41.16; 4. Tomass Dukurs, LAT, 1:41.30; 5. Christopher Grotheer, GER, 1:41.54

Canadian Results:

9. Dave Greszczyszyn, Brampton, Ont., 1:42.51; 12. Barrett Martineau, Calgary, 1:42.78