As week two of the 22nd Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia comes to a close, I am excited to share with you my second blog post on B.C.-raised Olympians. My first post focused on two new events in the Winter Olympics: Ski Slopestyle and Snowboard Slopestyle. This post will focus on a veteran Olympian and a social media super star Olympian.
Snowboard Cross – Maelle Ricker
Maelle Ricker has been competing on the world cup scene since 1996. Having grown up on the North Shore mountains of Vancouver, she looked to defend her Olympic gold medal from the Vancouver 2010 games. She is also known as the first Canadian woman to win gold on home soil (Alexandre Bilodeau was the first man and Canadian to do this). Ricker’s sport, Snowboard Cross, is an intense six person race. The competition begins with seeding runs as each competitor races for time, individually. Competitors then race down a complex course with jumps and turns in cramped quarters with 5 other snowboarders. Bumps are apart of the game and as evidenced by the competition so are crashes.
Ricker competed in these games with a fractured forearm, suffered just weeks before the competition. She completed her seeding run, but unfortunately fell in her quarterfinals heat finishing in 21st place. Nevertheless, quite the accomplishment for the injured 35 year old, three time Olympian.
Two and Four Man Bobsleigh – Justin Kripps
The fourth athlete I will highlight is Justin Kripps from Summerland, B.C.. A long time athlete, Kripps began his career as a Track and Field star. In fact, he competed in the 4 x 100 relay with the SFU Clan, breaking a school record in 2005. His Olympic debut occurred in Vancouver as a brakeman resulting in an tmpressive 4th place, just off the podium. This was definitely be a bittersweet position for an athlete. However, motivated and with his competitive spirit thriving following the Vancouver games, he moved up to the driver seat in the Summer of 2010.
Kripps finished the highest of the three Canadian sleds in sixth place this Olympics in the Two-Man run. There were a few stumbling blocks and bumps along the way on this unique ice track as he made his debut as an Olympic driver. The Four-Man bobsleigh event was far more terrifying for the Kripps’ team. They took a terrible stumble, sliding down the course after the 11th turn on the side of their sled during their second run. It was terrifying to watch. Good news though, the team all came out of the slide relatively unharmed. A loss of a medal opportunity may have been the biggest heartbreak resulting from this run.
Canada completed the 22nd Winter Olympics in third place of the medal standings with 25 medals, including 10 gold, 10 silver and 5 bronze. Huge congratulations to the Canadian Women’s Hockey Team and Team Jennifer Jones in curling on their gold medal performances, occurring when this blog was first written. Further congratulations to the Canadian Men’s Hockey Team on defending their 2010 gold medal against Sweden in an overall dominating performance at the early 4am start time for many West Coast North Americans. This was an excellent cap to what boils down to a successful Olympics for the Canadian team. Watch for my next blog post on a summary of the Olympics and my observations of these games.
Featured Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Poole.