WHISTLER, B.C. — Pilot Justin Kripps placed fourth in the four-man bobsled on Saturday as Canada was kept off the podium on the second day of World Cup competition at the Whistler Sliding Centre.
Russia's Alexander Kasjanov, Ilvir Khuzin, Vasiliy Kondratenko and Aleksei Pushkarev took the gold with a time of one minute 41.89. They beat Great Britain's Lamin Deen, alongside Ben Simons, Toby Olubi and Andrew Matthews, by 0.28 seconds, while Germany's Nico Walther, Kevin Kuske, Kevin Korona and Eric Franke slid into the bronze medal position in 1.42.37.
Kripps, alongside teammates Alexander Kopacz, Jesse Lumsden and Oluseyi Smith, was the day's top Canadian finisher, just missing the podium with a time of 1:42:40.
The team performed "okay," Kripps said.
"I thought we pushed really well, which is awesome. I drove pretty well, but we didn't find a lot of speed on the track today. We might have to take a look at our equipment setup and do some testing."
Having Lumsden, Smith and Kopacz behind him in the sled "is amazing," he added. "They're doing a great job on the start, I've never had four-man starts that are that close to the record, so it looks good for four-man results in the future."
Great Britain's four-man team had a particularly impressive first run during the World Cup race. Their single-run time of 50.66 seconds smashed the previous record of 50.86, set by the American pilot Steve Holcomb in 2010. However, the Russian sled wasn't far behind — their first run clocked in only two-hundredths of a second slower than the newly-set record.
"That will stay for ages, no one's going to beat that," Deen said with a laugh. "It was just great. I couldn't do it alone. Between the first and second heat, the pressure, there was pressure, they'll say there's not, but there was."
Saturday marked the "best result ever" for the group, Deen adding: "We're just growing as a team and it's fantastic… We've got probably some of the best athletes on the squad. Last year was a hiccup. Last year we had loads of problems, and this year we've fixed all of those problems. They're eradicated. Morale on the team has never been better, and the camaraderie amongst all of us is going to drive us to the podium in the Olympics."
Canadians Nick Poloniato, Lascelles Brown, Ben Coakwell, Derek Plug finished eleventh, while Chris Spring and Neville Wright — gold medal winners in yesterday's two-man race — took 13th, accompanied by teammates Joshua Kirkpatrick and Cameron Stones.
Earlier in the day, South Korea's Yun Sungbin took an easy victory in the men's skeleton race, after clocking in the fastest starts and finishes in both heats. He has outright possession of the series points lead after two wins from three races.
Russia's Nikita Tregubov was second and Latvia's Tomass Dukurs was third.
Yun finished three-quarters of a second ahead of Tregubov, a massive margin in a sport where races are routinely decided by hundredths of a second.
Dave Greszczyszyn of Brampton, Ont., was seventh in a time of 1:45.54, Kevin Boyer of Sherwood Park, Alta., was 12th in 1:46.21 and Calgary's Barrett Martineau finished 15th in 1:46.82.
The men's skeleton and four-man results come following a stellar day for the Canadian bobsled and skeleton team on Friday. They picked up four medals, including a gold in the men's two-man and women's bobsled.
Megan Lalonde, The Canadian Press