Double silver for Kripps at Igls 

Sports briefs: Three FIL medals for Canadians at Lake Placid

click to enlarge PHOTO BY VIESTURS LACIS/IBSF - Connect Four Canada's four-man bobsleigh team piloted by Justin Kripps, in black at right, captured the silver at Igls on Dec. 17.
  • Photo by Viesturs Lacis/IBSF
  • Connect Four Canada's four-man bobsleigh team piloted by Justin Kripps, in black at right, captured the silver at Igls on Dec. 17.

Justin Kripps enjoyed the good kind of Groundhog Day at Igls, Austria over the weekend.

The Canadian bobsleigh pilot took home a pair of silver medals in IBSF BMW World Cup action, first taking second in the two-man race with Jesse Lumsden on Dec. 16 before repeating the feat in the four-man event with Lumsden, Alex Kopacz and Seyi Smith the next day.

"With this crew, I know we have the starts to contend and it really shows on a starters track like Igls," Kripps said in a release. "It was a great weekend for us here in Igls. The boys stepped up big in the starts and coming away with medals in both races is huge. What a great way to go into the Christmas break."

In the two-man race, he finished behind only Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis as the Swiss sled of Clemens Bracher and Michael Kuonen was third. Chris Spring and Neville Wright took sixth while Nick Poloniato and Lascelles Brown were disqualified instead of Poloniato taking his first World Cup medal. According to a Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton release, "it was deemed the opening between the sides of the sled above the rear axle was four millimeters too narrow."

As for the four-man race, Kripps piloted his way in between a pair of German sleds as Johannes Lochner guided his crew to the win and Friedrich slid into third. The other two Canadians played to draws as Spring tied for 13th and Poloniato tied for 16th.

On the women's side, Kaillie Humphries and rookie Phylicia George took fourth as Germany's Stephanie Schneider and Annika Drazek knocked off American Elana Meyers Taylor and Kehri Jones, and fellow Germans Mariama Jamanka and Lisa Buckwitz. Humphries retained her lead atop the World Cup standings.

"I'm very proud of Phylicia in her first World Cup race. We were the third-fastest team at the top with room for us to improve. I'm excited to see where we can go from here," said Humphries. "It's not the end result we hoped for, but we'll keep working until it's there."

Alyssia Rissling and Heather Moyse took seventh and Christine de Bruin and Kristen Bujnowski were ninth.

On the skeleton side, Canadians took two medals as Elisabeth Vathje and Mirela Rahneva were second and third behind Russia's Elena Nikitina. North Vancouver's Jane Channell was 14th.

On the men's side, Canada's Dave Greszczyszyn was the top Canadian in a tie for 14th while Kevin Boyer took 20th and Barrett Martineau tied for 21st.

Lugers earn medals in Lake Placid

The Canadian women's luge team took a few notes from their skeleton cousins in Lake Placid, N.Y.

In similar fashion, Alex Gough and Kim McRae took second and third on Dec. 16, finishing behind only Germany's Natalie Geisenberger. Fellow Canadian Brooke Apshkrum ended up in 21st.

"It is always fun to be on the podium, and it is way more fun to be there with a teammate," Gough said in a release. "It was a lot of fun for Kim and I to be up there together today."

The men's doubles team also had reason to celebrate as Tristan Walker and Justin Snith put together solid runs back to back after struggling to do so at other races this season. The third-place finish behind Germany's Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken, and Austria's Peter Penz and Georg Fischer, was their first podium appearance since 2015.

"We tried not to think about the result, especially in the high-pressured scenario between the two runs. We were more focused on what we needed to do next rather than the result at the end. I think that was a reason for our rocky start. We had high expectations at the beginning of the season and we needed to get back to focusing on the basics," Walker said in a release, noting the pair were inspired by a sixth-place showing at home in Calgary the previous weekend.

In the men's race, Mitchel Malyk was the top Canadian in 15th while Sam Edney took 21st and Whistler's Reid Watts was 25th.

Luge Canada subsequently named its Olympic team on Dec. 20. Edney, Malyk and Watts make up the men's team while Gough, McRae and Apshkrum will represent the women.

Canadian ski-cross racers just off podium

Canada's ski-cross team had its athletes race to the very end, but all finished just off the podium in Montafon, Austria on Dec. 15.

On the women's side, Kelsey Serwa and Brittany Phelan were back to back in fifth and sixth. Switzerland's Fanny Smith took the win over Germany's Heidi Zacher and Sweden's Sandra Naeslund. Georgia Simmerling was 13th and India Sherret took 18th.

On the men's side, Brady Leman and Kevin MacDonald were sixth and eighth, respectively. Russia's Sergey Ridzik scored the victory over Terence Tchiknavorian and Jean Frederic Chapuis, both of France.

Whistler's Dave Duncan was 18th, while fellow Canadians Mathieu Leduc and Kristofor Mahler were also in the points, taking 24th and 28th, respectively.

Osborne-Paradis takes 15th in Italy

Whistler Mountain Ski Club alumnus Manny Osborne-Paradis was one of the bright spots on the weekend for Alpine Canada racers.

Osborne-Paradis took 15th in the men's downhill at Val Gardena, Italy on Dec. 16, finishing 1.5 seconds back of winner Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway. Fellow Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud took second and Austria's Max Franz placed third. Benjamin Thomsen and Erik Guay placed 30th and 32nd, respectively.

Canadian men also did well in the Dec. 15 super-G with Guay and Dustin Cook taking 12th and 14th, respectively. Germany's Josef Ferstl earned the win, trailed by Austrians Franz and Matthias Mayer.

When the scene shifted to Alta Badia, Italy for parallel giant slalom action on Dec. 18, Erik Read scored a 14th as Sweden's Matts Olsson took the win over Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen and Austria's Marcel Hirscher. In the previous day's GS, Read took 27th as Hirscher, Krisoffersen and Slovenia's Zan Kranjec made the podium, in order.

Canadian women struggled in Val d'Isere and Courchevel, France, with only Valerie Grenier finishing in the points as she took a 29th in the giant slalom on Dec. 19. American Mikaela Shiffrin took the win over France's Tessa Worley and Italy's Manuela Moelgg.



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