Justin Kripps’s bobsled Olympics end after 3 runs
Russian pilot Alexander Zubkov sweeps podium
Canadian pilot Justin Kripps and his Canada 3 teammates finished their Olympic Games after only three runs of Sunday's four-man event at the Sanki Sliding Center in Sochi, where they crashed a day earlier.
Russian pilot Alexander Zubkov captured gold with a four-run time of three minutes, 40.60
seconds. Zubkov becomes only the sixth pilot in history to sweep both the two- and four-man podiums.
German legend Andre Lange swept both events at both the 2006 and 2010 Olympics.
"We proved that we are the best in the two-man bobsleigh and the four-man bobsleigh," said Zubkov. "I would like to thank everybody. I dedicate this medal to my children."
Zubkov's victory cemented Russia's place atop the medal count in Sochi — 13 gold, 11 silver, nine bronze for 33 overall medals.
"The country believed in us. But nobody believed that Russia would even be in the top three in total medal but we have won," he said.
Kripps crashed on Saturday during the second run with brakemen Jesse Lumsden, Cody Sorensen and Ben Coakwell on board, leaving the team in last place.
While the Canadians walked away with only minor injuries, Sorensen and Coakwell were still replaced with Graeme Rinholm and Luke Demetre for Sunday's competition.
The Canadians finished with a three-run time of 2:50.80. But only the top 20 sleds advanced to the final run.
"That kind of crash is unlucky. It's been a bitter-sweet 24 hours, it wasn't pleasant," said Kripps. "I was getting ready for turn 13 and suddenly my face pressed against the ice. It was one of those crashes that wasn't anyone's fault. It was like a perfect storm.
"We were fighting for a medal; those hopes have been shattered like carbon fibre and like ice."
Kripps did have the 10th-fastest heat with a run of 55.72. Once Kripps and the rest of his crew crossed the finish line, they were greeted by their other Canadian teammates. Kripps had the option to end his Olympic Games on Saturday but he felt a responsibility to finish on his terms.
"I didn't want to end on a crash," he said. "We have a job to do, we all act like professionals."
Zubkov wins 4th Olympic medal
Zubkov collected his fourth career Olympic medal with brakemen Alexey Negodaylo, Dmitry Trunenkov and Alexey Voevoda.
"We won and we proved to everybody that we are the best, that is the most important. I don't have any emotions right now, honestly. I used them all up in the race, said Zubkov. "I feel very good. I'm very glad. This medal means a lot for me. This season was very difficult. It was a really tough competition."
Latvia's Oskars Melbardis secured the silver-medal position in 3:40.69, along with Daumants Dreiskens, Arvis Vilkaste and Janis Strenga.
2010 gold medallist Steven Holcomb of the U.S. won the bronze medal by clocking in at 3:40.99. Holcomb’s crew consists of Curtis Tomasevicz, Steven Langton and Christopher Fogt.
"Our goal was obviously double gold. But a gold and a bronze is pretty solid," said Holcomb, who also won bronze in the two-man event with Langton. "Right now for the USA to have a medal in every event is huge. It's really helped the sport in the USA."
Lyndon Rush had the only Canadian sled in the top 10. The 2010 Olympic bronze medallist finished ninth (3:41.76) with brakemen Lascelles Brown, Dave Bissett, and Neville Wright in Canada 2.
Canada 1 pilot Chris Spring, James McNaughton, Tim Randall and Bryan Barnett ended at 3:42.84.
Spring was not happy with the Canadian coaches, who made the decision on Friday to let his original team of Lumsden, Sorensen and Coakwell compete with Kripps.
"I might have been Canada 1 up on the board but I was Canada 3 to the coaches," Spring told CBC.