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Olympics Hawaiian-born Kripps chases gold for Canada in two-man bobsleigh

Justin Kripps and Alexander Kopacz of Canada compete during the men’s two-man heats on Sunday.

EDGAR SU/REUTERS

Christian Poser is the husband of an American bobsleigh star. Justin Kripps was born in Hawaii. And the way things are looking, they both could win Olympic two-man medals on Monday night.

Thing is, Poser races for Germany and Kripps drives for Canada.

The German sled driven by Nico Walther and pushed by Poser – whose wife is U.S. women's driver Jamie Greubel Poser – holds the lead after the first two runs of the two-man event, despite crashing across the finish line in their second run after posting a combined time of 1 minute 38.39 seconds.

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Kripps, of Summerland, B.C., and Alexander Kopacz of London, Ont., are in second for Canada, one-10th of a second back. Germany's Johannes Lochner and Christopher Weber are third, 0.19 seconds off the lead going into the final two heats.

"I think we have a great shot," said Kripps, who has lived in about a half-dozen countries, identifies as Canadian and also holds an Australian passport.

Two Canadian sleds were tied for 10th – Hamilton's Nick Poloniato and Jesse Lumsden of Burlington, Ont., and Chris Spring of Priddis, Alta, and Calgary's Lascelles Brown.

Kripps, who tops the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF) pilot rankings, is hoping to match his World Cup success at the Games.

A gold from Kripps would be Canada's second in the two-man competition since Pierre Lueders's victory in Nagano in 1998, and the 31-year-old heads into the final heats in a good position to get it.

"I want a medal but I don't need one," Kripps told reporters after Friday's training. "If we don't, I'll be disappointed but at the same time, give me five minutes and I'll be smiling again."

An ice temperature of -11 C made for a glisteningly fast track for Sunday's race.

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Loaded with their pilots and brakemen, the 360-kilogram sleds blistered past spectators with a roar like a fighter jet at speeds of more than 130 kilometres an hour.

Although some seats have remained empty at the Games in Pyeongchang, the Olympic Sliding Centre has been abuzz with spectators, thanks to South Korean Yun Sung-bin's skeleton victory on Friday.

"Wow! So many people on the track to watch the first two heats of the two-man bobsleigh competition!" the IBSF tweeted on its official account.

A Russian medalist is suspected of doping at the Pyeongchang Olympic Games, which could thwart Russia's attempts to emerge from a drug-cheating scandal Reuters
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