Winter Olympics 2018: Canada, Germany share gold after 'crazy' climax in two-man bobsleigh

Pyeongchang, South Korea: Canada and Germany shared gold in a "crazy" climax to the two-man bobsleigh on Monday at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics after they finished in a remarkable dead heat.

It is the first time since Nagano 1998, and only the second time in Games history, that has happened — the first time also involved Canada.

The Canadian vintage of 2018, led by Hawaiian-born Justin Kripps, went in the final run to snatch a place alongside the Francesco Friedrich-piloted German duo at the top of the podium.

The German and Canadian pairs celebrate during the victory ceremony. Reuters

The German and Canadian pairs celebrate during the victory ceremony. Reuters

Bronze went to Latvia just 0.05sec behind in the high-octane event in which competitors whizz around the icy track at speeds of up to 150 kilometres (90 miles) per hour.

After the Canadians surged to the finish line in the last run in the fourth and final heat, the waiting Germans raced onto the track to congratulate their rivals as all four men celebrated wildly and hugged one another.

Kripps's brakeman Alexander Kopacz later admitted that the Canadian duo did not immediately know that they had shared gold.

"We just thought we had won outright. You see a number one on the time and it doesn't really tell you that you've tied so Justin realised sooner than I did that we had tied for first," said a disbelieving Kopacz.

"It took me a couple of minutes, we were in the changing room and I said that I wasn't sure what just happened.

"It does not take anything away, we are all extremely happy and it's such an honour to tie with such a strong team."

The medal places were fiercely contested throughout, with a mere 0.13 seconds splitting five teams — three of them German — going into the last heat.

Four-time former world champion Friedrich and his brakeman Thorsten Margis must have thought they had done enough to claim the Olympic title outright.

But Kripps and Kopacz had other ideas and romped home with the exact same aggregate time, 3:16.86.

'It's crazy'

Like his team-mate, Kripps said it took a few moments for him to realise that they had clocked the same time as the Germans.

"I found out slightly sooner than Alex did and I actually couldn't find him for a while after we crossed the finish line," said the 31-year-old Kripps.

"I managed to see the clock that said 'One' on it and at first I thought we had won outright as well, then these guys (the German pair) jumped over and they're super excited and I thought, 'Wow, these guys are really happy for us, that's great.'

"Then Thorsten was giving me a hug and he said... it was a tie, and I thought, 'Oh, it was a tie.'

"It's crazy."

A triumphant Margis could hardly believe what had happened either.

"I love the Olympic spirit and I hope this race will show the Olympic spirit to the world," said the German.

By coincidence, Pierre Lueders, one of the Canadians involved when they similarly shared gold in 1998, that time with Italy, was in attendance on Monday night.

Lueders is now in charge of the South Korean bobsleigh team at their home Games.


Updated Date: Feb 19, 2018 22:31 PM

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