April 27, 2020

The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea catapultedJustin Kripps to glory as he co-championed the two-man bobsleigh to a gold medal win to become the reigning Olympic champion alongside teammate Alex Kopacz.

It was the first win for Canada since 1998 when Pierre Lueders tied with an Italian sled for the gold and represented Canada’s first bobsledding medal of any kind since Lueders’ silver win in 2006.

While Justin continues training to take the two-man and top four-man Canadian sled — Canada 1 — to future victories, let’s take a brief look at his glide to the top.

Coming from the Back

Raised in British Columbia, Kripps founded his athletic career while exploring his love for track and field events at both varsity and national levels, bringing All-American honors to his 4 x 100m team at the Louisville, KY 2005 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

In 2006, he was invited to a testing camp for bobsleigh and found the unique experience a satisfying mix of track and field and racecar driving. He settled into competition as a brakeman, winning his first Bobsleigh World Cup in Italy in 2008, along with teammates Pierre Lueders, David Bissett, and Ken Kotyk.

In fact, Lueders and Kripps were the first competitors to make the slide down British Columbia’s Whistler Sliding Centre in 2007.

As one of the top brakemen in Canada, Kripps was a member of Lueders’ four-man team as they competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Afterward, Kripps leveraged his leadership talent to switch roles, moving from brakeman to pilot.

Man On the Move

Kripps attended pilot school in 2010 to hone his skills, spending the following year on the North American Cup circuit where his four-man team finished fifth at the 2011 World Junior Championships and his two-man sled slid into eighth place. 

The following year saw him moving on to the Europa Cup circuit before debuting as a pilot in the February 2012 World Cup in Whistler.

There, he snagged a bronze medal in the non-Olympic team competition and went on to a World Cup podium with a victory in the two-man sledding event in January 2014. 

This was quickly followed by three more triumphs: a two-man bronze in January 2015, a four-man bronze in January 2016, and a two-man silver in December 2016. 

Sliding Forward

In 2016, Bobsleigh Canada purchased new four-man sleds, one of which was allocated to Justin. His previous sled was an older 2007 model, so the new sled represented a serious upgrade in technology. 

This upgrade, along with his serious commitment to training, set him up for the 2017-18 World Cup Season. At season’s end, he boasted his best career season ever with an overall title in the two-man event and two four-man podium finishes to set him up as the top-ranking bobsled pilot.

That, and his focus on continual improvement, helped him glide to victory in Pyeongchang, his second Olympics as a bobsled pilot. 

Sadly, his victory was colored by the death of his 94-year-old grandmother, Marie Harrison. He didn’t share the news with teammates as he prepared for the event ahead of him, but thoughts of his grandmother were close to his heart that fateful night.

With a smile, he remembered a prediction she shared with him before he left for the games: 

"She picked me to win gold in the two-man, so she was still pretty sharp in her final days. I was really happy we could get it done in her honour."

The really cool thing — if you’ll pardon the pun — about the win was that it was a tie with their German rivals. To put that into perspective, you need to understand that Olympic clocks can measure to the 10,000th of a second. 

Rather than tarnishing the win, thesolidarity and camaraderie felt among the four men at the podium was palpable — and heartening. 

Looking Ahead

In St. Moritz in January of 2020, Krippsgrabbed the win on the final four-man bobsled race of the current season — his third four-man win — with a two-run time of 11.12 seconds. 

This victory presented Kripps with his eighth four-man medal in the World Cup and a first for his team on the world’s only non-refrigerated track. 

Besides serious training, Justin “Beastmode” Kripps, an avid meditator, indulges in a pre-game ritual of deep-breathing peppermint oil to get himself centered and focused on his goals. And, as an athlete that understands the power of deep sleep and relaxation, he spends his nights suspended in the comfort of a Lunazen mattress.

Lunazen’s handmade, Canadian-sourced and produced mattresses provide athletes — and everyone — with the kind of foundation that supports a restful night’s sleep. The more your body can relax, the easier it is for it to repair cellular damage and perform at its highest level.

Try Lunazen for yourself and you’ll see how easy it is to slip into the kind of restorative sleep that can help fuel the victories of tomorrow.