LAKE PLACID, N.Y.—Lyndon Rush and Jesse Lumsden put a silver lining for Canada around the opening weekend at the Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championships on Sunday in Lake Placid, New York.
Riding a high after posting the fastest opening two-run times on Saturday, the Canadian duo were dealt a serious blow as Rush came down with a stomach virus that completely buckled him, and put a podium finish into question.
“Coming down the track was awful. I was gagging the whole way down. Thankfully the run is only a minute long,” said Rush, who credits his brakeman’s athleticism for pushing the duo to the podium. “Jesse pushed the sled by himself today. I was basically a windsock. He was on his own.”
Taking a narrow lead into Sunday’s final two runs of the four-heat race, the Canadian duo dropped one spot in their third run, but held on for the silver medal after clocking a combined time of 3:43.34 down the challenging 1,455-metre Olympic Track.
“I thought I would be happy, but I’m not even sure if I am right now,” said Rush. “I just want to get back to my hotel and sleep.”
“We came out guns blazing on Saturday and had to battle through some adversity last night,” added Lumsden. “Considering the condition Lyndon was in it was a courageous effort even for him to perform. We gave it everything we had and Team Rush are World Championship medallists.”
Steven Holcomb and Steve Langton thrilled the hometown crowd capturing their first two-man World Championship title in the USA 1 sled. The Americans clocked a winning time of 3:42.88. Maximilian Arndt and Kevin Kuske teamed up to win the bronze in the Germany 1 sled at 3:43.43.
The second-place finish locked up the first-ever World Championship medal for both Rush and Lumsden.
Rush, who became the first Canadian in 40 years to win an Olympic bronze medal in the four-man bobsleigh in 2010, teamed up with Lumsden this fall as the CFL star running back decided to put his dreams of driving on hold to push Rush– a team-focused decision to give Canada its best shot at the international podium in men’s bobsleigh.
“The goal was to work together to win a medal here for Canada,” said Rush. “Jesse is an amazing athlete, and such an amazing character guy who always puts the team first. I’m very lucky to have him on the team.”
It was a move that proved valuable for all involved. The two Canucks enjoyed their first breakthrough together in Konigssee, Germany when they climbed onto the podium together for the first time, winning the silver medal. T wo weeks ago, the Canadian duo celebrated their first-ever World Cup victory together in Whistler. It was the second World Cup victory and fourth career medal in the two-man event for Rush. He also has four career podium finishes in the four-man including one victory. The Whistler triumph was the first career victory in a World Cup sled for the 29-year-old Lumsden.
“This is a team sport and I knew it was best for me to join Lyndon for the best interest of the team,” said Lumsden. “I’m happy to be a part of Team Rush. I’m in such a good place right now and I can’t wait to get in the four-man (this week) with the other guys. If you ever needed an example of a team peaking at the right time, we are it.”
Rookie pilot Justin Kripps, of Summerland, B.C., piloted the Canada 2 sled in his first World Championships as a driver. Coming off two career-best top-10 finishes at the Calgary World Cup, Kripps teamed up with Calgary’s Derek Plug to finish 17th with a time of 3:46.42. Kripps, who was a brakeman for Pierre Lueders at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, made his World Cup debut as a pilot three weeks ago in Whistler.
The World Championships resume in Lake Placid on Thursday with the opening day of the women’s skeleton races.
Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton is a non-profit organization and the national governing body for the sports of bobsleigh and skeleton in Canada. With the support of its valued corporate partners – VISA, Dow Chemical, Adidas, KBC Helmets, Eurotech – Viking Engineering, SAIT Polytechnic, Therapeutica – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton develops Olympic and world champions. Please visit us at www.bobsleighcanadaskeleton.ca.
Complete Results: www.fibt.com
Top-Five Men’s Bobsleigh Results:
1. Holcomb/Langton, USA 1, 3:42.88; 2. Lyndon Rush, Humboldt, Sask./Jesse Lumsden, Burlington, Ont., CAN 1, 3:43.34; 3. Arndt/Kuske, GER 1, 3:43.43; 4. Friedrich/Huebenbecker, GER 3, 3:43.50; 5. Hefti/Lamparter, SUI 1, 3:43.74
Other Canadian Results:
17. Justin Kripps, Summerland, B.C./Derek Plug, Calgary, CAN 2, 3:46.42.