20 years ago at the 1998 Olympics in Japan, Pierre Lueders and Dave MacEachern tied in first place for Canada’s first ever gold in the two-man bobsleigh. Today, the Canadian duo of Justin Kripps and Alexander Kopacz repeated history and once again tied for a gold medal in the two-man bobsleigh.
The pair’s time of three minutes and 16.86 seconds tied Germany’s Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis. This is the third time there’s been a tie for gold in the two-man event. Italy tied with West Germany back in 1968 and Canada tied Italy in 1998.
Kripps and Kopacz sat second after Sunday’s first two heats at the Olympic Sliding Centre in Pyeongchang, but jumped into first on his third trip down the track with a time of 49.32 seconds.
They headed into the fourth and final run 0.06 seconds up on Friedrich, who set a track record of 48.96 seconds in the third heat. The Canadian duo was slightly behind the Germans in the early part of the fourth run but quickly picked up speed before crossing in a deadlock time with Friedrich.
Alexander Kopacz, from London, Ontario is the brakeman for the pilot, Justin Kripps. Third times a charm for Kripps, winning his first gold medal in his third Olympics. Not the same story for London native Kopacz, who is performing in his first ever Olympics.
Kopacz grew up in London and has attended both Western University (Mechanical Engineering, Physics) and Fanshawe College (Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering). While at Western University, Kopacz competed in shot put. It was not only until 2013 when he was encouraged to try bobsleigh by members of the university coaching staff.
Looks like that decision was the right one. Kopacz will return to London as a Canadian hero. Winning gold in his first ever Olympics, five years after taking up the sport.