Canada’s Olympic bobsleigh champion Justin Kripps is becoming a coach.
The 35-year-old from Summerland, BC, is joining the national bobsleigh 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’m extremely excited to take on this new role and pass on the knowledge I’ve accumulated over my career,” Kripps said in a release. “I think coaching is the best way for me to have a positive impact on the next generation of athletes. I’m looking forward to working with the program and our team of coaches 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 pilot both a two- and four-man sled to the Olympic podium, racing to gold in the two-man with Alex Kopacz in 2018, and then bronze in the four-man at the Beijing Olympics in February, with Ryan Sommer, Cam Stones and Benjamin Coakwell.
“He garners tremendous respect,” said Chris Le Bihan, the high performance director of Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton. “There is no doubt his extensive experience and knowledge of what it takes to hit the start line and win will help ensure Canada’s bobsleigh athletes, in all positions of the sled, work together as a team to continue to chase down the international podium.”
Kripps, a four-time Olympian, told The Canadian Press last month that he’d accomplished more than he’d ever dreamed of in the sport, and wondered after winning bronze this past winter in Beijing: “Where’s the motivation going to come from to work as hard as I would have to for another four years? I want to put that energy somewhere else.”
He said safety had also become a concern after a couple of crashes this past season. The fear of permanent damage was tough to shake.
Kripps made his World Cup debut as a pilot in 2012 in Whistler, BC, and quickly blossomed into one of the world’s top drivers.
He captured 10 Crystal Globes as the overall World Cup points leader, five world championship titles, and 44 World Cup podium finishes.
American Todd Hays, an Olympic silver medalist, will remain as head coach of the Canada’s bobsleigh program. Belgium’s Elfje Willemsen will continue as a technical coach, while Lyndon Rush, a bronze medalist at the 2010 Olympics, returns as a technical driving coach.
WATCH | Kripps takes bronze in Beijing: