CALGARY — Canadian Olympic bobsleigh champion Justin Kripps is becoming a coach.
The 35-year-old from Summerland joins the national bobsled team as the program’s new technical coach. The move comes two weeks after Kripps announced he was retiring from competition after 16 years in the sport.
“I am extremely excited to take on this new role and pass on the knowledge I have accumulated over my career,” Kripps said in a statement.
“I think coaching is the best way for me to have a positive impact on the next generation of athletes. I look forward to working with the program and our coaching staff to help all of these athletes achieve their own performance goals and dreams while developing my own skills as a coach.
Kripps is the only Canadian to have sled both a two-man and a four-man on the Olympic podium, winning gold in the two-man sled with Alex Kopacz in 2018 and then bronze in the four-man at the Olympic Games in Beijing in February, with Ryan Sommer, Cam Stones and Benjamin Coakwell.
“He commands a huge amount of respect,” said Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton High Performance Director Chris Le Bihan. “There is no doubt that his vast experience and knowledge of what it takes to get to the start line and win will help ensure that Canada’s bobsled athletes, in all sled positions, are working together in team to continue aiming for the international podium.
Kripps, a four-time Olympian, told The Canadian Press last month that he had achieved more than he ever dreamed of in the sport and wondered after winning bronze last winter in Beijing: “ Where will the motivation come from to work as hard as I should for another four years?
I want to put that energy elsewhere.
He said safety also became a concern after a few crashes last season.
Kripps made his Olympic debut in 2010, then took the pilot’s seat under two-time Olympic medalist Pierre Lueders, who went on to coach Canada, Russia and South Korea. Kripps made his World Cup debut as a pilot in 2012 in Whistler, BC, and has gone on to become one of the best pilots in the world.
He has won 10 Crystal Globes as overall World Cup leader, five World Championship titles and 44 World Cup podiums. American Todd Hays, Olympic silver medalist, will remain head coach of the Canadian bobsleigh program. Three-time Olympian Elfje Willemsen of Belgium will continue as technical coach, while 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Lyndon Rush returns as driving technical coach.