ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — Canada's Justin Kripps won the final four-man bobseld race of the season on Sunday while Germany's Francesco Friedrich took the overall World Cup four-man championship.
It was the third four-man win of the season for Kripps of Summerland, B.C. The Canadian sled also included Ryan Sommer of White Rock, B.C., Cameron Stones of Whitby, Ont., and Benjamin Coakwell of Saskatoon.
Latvia's Oskars Kibermanis was second while Germany's Johannes Lochner was third.
"This is awesome. I have been trying to win in St. Moritz since the first time I came here in 2007. That was a big day for us," said Kripps. "We had two good runs, good pushes and the boys really stepped up in that second run to drop the start time. That was big time, and I really believe allowed us to get the victory."
It was the first career four-man podium for the 32-year-old Kripps and his crew on the only non-refrigerated track in the world. The reigning Olympic two-man champion has never cracked the top-10 on the 1,700-metre chute of natural ice that winds its way to the finish line in the town of Celerina.
Friedrich won the four-man title for the second consecutive year, clinching the championship despite finishing a season-worst fifth in the finale. Lochner was second in the four-man standings this season and Kripps was third — the best finish by a Canadian sled since Pierre Lueders finished second overall in the 2005-06 season.
Hunter Church of the U.S. drove to eighth place in the finale and finished the four-man season in fifth place overall.
The Canadians were in second spot after the first heat, but a fourth-place start time in the final run provided the velocity Kripps needed to finish on top.
"I had tweaked my groin, so I was pretty taped up and honestly was just hoping not to slow the sled down on the push," said Kripps. "I was feeling pretty good. Once I jumped in, I just wanted to fix any skids.
"Everything was going really well, hitting good lines, and when we came out of horseshoe we were really moving. On the finish straight away, I was thinking – 'there is no way anyone is going this fast. It has to be enough,' and it was."
It has been a stellar end to the World Cup four-man season for the Canadian team. After opening the season with back-to-back victories in the four-man sled in Lake Placid, Kripps also slid to the top of the four-man podium in Konigssee, Germany last weekend.
Kripp's crew was formed following the 2018 Games with Olympians Coakwell and Stones, who have both also been tapped to push the Canadian sled in two-man. Ryan Sommer joined the program last year and now has five four-man podiums. The team also won bronze at the 2019 World Championships on home ice in Whistler.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2020.
— With files from The Associated Press
The Canadian Press