Team Rush added one more podium finish on a historic Saturday in Canadian sport by winning the bronze in the World Cup four-man bobsleigh race at Whistler Olympic Park.
Lyndon Rush and his crew of Jesse Lumsden, of Burlington, Ont., Ottawa’s Cody Sorensen and Edmonton’s Neville Wright celebrated their first four-man podium of the season after blazing their Eurotech sled down the 1,450-metre icy chute, lined with nearly 2,000 screaming Canadian fans, in a two-run time of 1:42.62.
“The Russians are good,” said Rush, who also won his first two-man race of the season on Friday night with Lumsden on his brakes. “I ‘m a little disappointed right now, but really I know I’m not. The guys pushed unbelievably. We were in the mix and we haven’t been in the mix all year. It has been a great weekend overall.”
It was a familiar place on the Whistler podium for the 31-year-old Rush who became the first Canadian in 40 years to win an Olympic medal in the four-man race when he was third in 2010.
Edging closer to the two-year anniversary of that historic night, Rush has a whole new crew in his sled. Last season he joined forces with Sorensen and Wright to capture three four-man podiums on the elite circuit. It was the first podium since the team added CFL star running back Jesse Lumsden to the crew.
“We had a rough start clicking in the fourman this year, but made big strides in St. Moritz and stepped it up here,” said the 29-year-old Lumsden, who helped the crew post the fastest push in the second heat at 4.74. “In terms of a team level this is huge for us. To have the fastest push of the day is also hugebecause on paper we have some great athletes and there is no reason we shouldn’t be like that every week.”
“We are going to take that over to Calgary and then carry it over into the World Championships.”
It was the fifth career four-man medal for Rush. He has one four-man victory on his resume.
Overall four-man World Cup leader, Alexsandr Zubkov and his crew of Philipp Egorov,Dmitry Trunenkov and Maxim Mokrousov, captured the gold in the Russia 1 sled at 1:42.46. Alexander Kasjanov piloted the Russia 2 sled of Denis Moiseychenkov, Maxim Belugin and Nikolay Hrenkov to the silver medal at 1:32.60.
Canada’s 25-year-old Justin Kripps, of Summerland, B.C., completed his rookie weekend on the World Cup with a 12th-place finish. Kripps teamed up with Toronto’s Tim Randall, Calgary’s Derek Plug, and James McNaughton, of Newmarket, Ont., to post a time of 1:44.38 in the Canada 2 sled.
“I just started driving last year so to be honest I am happy right now just to have the opportunity to compete at a World Cup,” said Kripps, who was a brakeman at the 2010 Games in his coach Pierre Lueders’ sled. “I think this track in Whistler has been critical for my quick development as a pilot. It is very technical and challenging. We are very lucky to have this at home because it really slowsother tracks down when we leave here.”
The bronze-medal finish caps off a flurry of podium finishes for Canada’s bobsleigh and skeleton athletes in Whistler. In addition to Rush’s gold and bronze-medal performances in men’s bobsleigh, Canadian athletes also racked up a gold in women’s skeleton along with a gold and bronze in women’s bobsleigh.