|Jesse Lumsden and Lyndon Rush teamed up for a gold medal in a World Cup bobsleigh race in Whistler Friday night. File photo
WHISTLER, B.C. - Lyndon Rush and Jesse Lumsden joined forces to win their first gold medal together in World Cup two-man bobsleigh at the Whistler Sliding Centre Friday night.
Starting first out of the block, the 31-year-old Rush and Lumsden, of Burlington, Ont., clocked the second fastest time at 52.04 in their first blast down the 1,450-metre 16-corner Olympic Track.
Hungry for gold, the explosive Canadian duo posted the fastest second run at 52.10 to slide the Canada 1 Eurotech sled to the top step of the podium with a combined time of 1:44.14.
“Winning is fun,” said the soft-spoken Rush, who hails from Humboldt, Sask. “If we post our best here, we should be the fastest. It is our track and I expect to be the best here.”
The Canadians knocked the Germany 1 sled of Maximillian Arndt and Martin Putz off the top step of the podium, forcing them into second spot with a time of 1:44.21. Switzerland’s Beat Hefti and Thomas Lamparter grabbed the bronze after clocking-in at 1:44.36.
Rush’s track record in Whistler has been nothing short of remarkable. The former standout football player with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies became the first Canadian in 40 years to win an Olympic gold medal in four-man bobsleigh in 2010.
Rush also won the silver in the two-man event at the World Cup one year ago.
It was Rush’s second World Cup victory and fourth career medal in the two-man event. He also has four career podium finishes in the four-man including one victory.
Rush and Lumsden enjoyed their first breakthrough together one month ago in Konigssee when they claimed the silver marking their first podium together since teaming up this fall.
One of the most athletically gifted combinations on the World Cup bobsleigh circuit, Friday night’s performance was the first career victory in a World Cup sled for the 29-year-old Lumsden.
“It feels real good,” said Lumsden, who joined bobsleigh in 2009 after a CFL career. “I wasn’t happy with my push in the second heat and I knew it right away.
“I was talking to myself in the sled going down, but there is only so much you can do in the back. At that point you just will it. I knew we had a fast run though and when I saw the number 1 on the board I was so happy.”
Justin Kripps, of Summerland, B.C., teamed up with Toronto’s Tim Randall for his World Cup debut as a pilot in the Canada 2 sled, finishing 17th at 1:46.20.
The 25-year-old Kripps, who was a brakeman at the 2010 Olympics in Pierre Lueders’ four-man sled, began driving following the Games. It was Randall’s first race since experiencing a serious crash with Chris Spring in Altenberg, Germany last month.
Earlier in the evening Calgary’s John Fairbairn put down the best result in his two years on the World Cup in the men’s skeleton race. The 28-year-old climbed five spots in his final trip down the track to clock an eighth-place combined time of 1:47.53.
“I had two pretty good runs, but was maybe overdriving it a little bit,” said Fairbairn, who slid to his previous best ninth place two weeks ago in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
“This is one of the most technical tracks in the world and one of the fun thing about tracks like this it will force guys will make mistakes even though the field is so good. That makes for a more fun race.”