After a season that's been more frustrating than not, the two-man bobsleigh duo of Justin Kripps and Jesse Lumsden came up big at the BMW Bobsleigh World Championships at Konigssee, Germany on Feb. 19.
The pair placed second behind only German's Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis in the event, combining for a four-run time of three minutes, 17.91 seconds (3:17.91) to end up 1.2 seconds off the golden pace.
Summerland's Kripps said in a release: "It is awesome for us to have this result at the right time. My first World Championship medal at my favourite track."
Kripps and Lumsden had struggled with their equipment for much of the season, but the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation made a mid-season rule change with how sandpaper is applied to runners before a race prior to the most recent World Cup race in Austria earlier this month. The Canadians applauded the change and finished in the top five in both subsequent races.
Lumsden acknowledged the Friedrich-Margis connection blazed this year, winning four of six races while taking second in the other two en route to the overall title lead heading into the final race March in PyeongChang, South Korea. However, jostling for the other medals is exciting, as the Canadians finished just five-hundredths of a second up on the third-place team of Johannes Lochener and Joshua Bluhm of Germany when the four runs were completed.
Nick Poloniato and Neville Wright also performed well in the race, taking fifth and finishing just 0.27 seconds off the podium. Chris Spring and Alexander Kopacz, meanwhile, placed 13th.
In the women's bobsleigh, Kaillie Humphries and Melissa Lotholz also medalled, finishing just three-hundredths of a second back of champions Elana Meyers Taylor and Kehri Jones of the U.S. Jamie Greubel Poser and Aja Evans, also Americans, were third, 0.23 seconds off the pace.
The starts sunk the Canadians, especially on the second day, as they posted the seventh- and eighth-best openers after making steady improvements all year.
"Silver is not satisfying when the gold was right there, but we have to focus on the positive," Humphries said in a release. "Melissa has made a lot of improvements this year which has been awesome to see, but together we have a lot of improvements in all elements of the sport to continue working on in order to get back on top. The Olympics is a different beast. We have this summer to learn, and get back to work."
Canadians Alyssia Rissling and Cynthia Appiah placed sixth while Christine de Bruin and Genevieve Thibault ended up in 13th.
Canadians finished well back in the team event, taking eighth and ninth in the 12-team field.
The World Championships will continue with skeleton and four-man bobsleigh action from Feb. 24 to 26.
Edney takes historic bronze in PyeongChang
Veteran Canadian luger Sam Edney became the first Canadian man to win a World Cup luge medal outside our borders.
The 32-year-old slid to bronze at the Olympic test event in South Korea on Feb. 19, completing the two-run event in a time of 1:37.694, roughly half a second back of winner Dominik Fischnaller of Italy. Germany's Andi Langenhan took second.
Edney, who has had his share of struggles this season, said the result was a bright spot in the campaign.
"I needed it today. It has been a pretty dismal year and I have been pretty hard on myself after most races," Edney explained in a release. "I went into the season with the focus on World Championships and this test event in PyeongChang. The Worlds was a down point for me and I walked away from it with my head pretty low."
Whistler's Reid Watts, meanwhile, placed 21st while Mitchel Malyk ended up in 25th.
On the women's side, Kim McRae took sixth while Russia's Tatyana Ivanova scored the win over runners-up Natalie Geisenberger and Julia Taubitz, both of Germany. Alex Gough was the only other Canadian to finish, taking 14th.
As for the doubles team, Tristan Walker and Justin Snith placed sixth as Germany swept the podium as Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken earned the win over the Tobias Wendl-Tobias Arit and Robin Johannes Geueke-David Gamm entries.