It was a satisfying rookie season for Summerland’s Justin Kripps in World Cup Bobsleigh.
Heading into the season, Team Kripps ranked 26th in two-man and 28th in four-man and finished ranked 15th and 16th respectively. The ranking had been slightly better before the final event in Sochi, Russia but a tough two weeks battling illness, combined with difficulty in adapting to the changing ice conditions took its toll and the team finished 18th and 20th.
“It was a steep learning curve,” said Kripps. “New team (with several changes over the season), new coaches, new sleds, and several new tracks I hadn’t driven before.”
The European section of the circuit took them to Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland and of course home of the 2014 Olympics testing the facilities in Sochi.
However Kripps and brakeman Neville Wright impressed in the pre-Olympic two-man event posting the second and third fastest start times in the two heats. Kripps has high hopes for the next season and knows there is lots of room for improvement.
“There were lots of things we were working out this year,” he said. “We accomplished most of our goals and know now what we have to work on. We are really looking forward to next season and hopefully to be in Sochi battling it out with the top guys.”
During their stop in Sochi, Kripps said it was a different experience as the location is a giant construction site.
“We were very restricted in our movements, especially when Mr. Putin came to inspect the facilities,” said Kripps. “However the bobsleigh track is amazing, the first in the world to have covered starting and finishing areas and warm up areas. Everyone is still learning as there hasn’t been a competition track in Russia before. The Russians are really putting everything into the Olympics. As long as it all gets finished it’s going to be spectacular.”