Canada’s Lyndon Rush and Jesse Lumsden mixed together the perfect ingredients of two solid pushes with two consistent runs to deliver a gold medal in the men’s two-man bobsleigh race in Konigssee, Germany on Saturday (Jan. 12).
Rush, of Humboldt, Sask., and Lumsden, of Burlington, busted out one of their best performances of the year, shattering the field by nearly one-half of a second with a two-run time of 1:40.22 down the 14-corner track.
“This is a short track so you expect the times to be close, but we had things set up really well this week,” said the 32-year-old Rush. “Jesse jarred his back loading in the first push so we said to each other the second run was going to be a ‘hard hat run.’ He dug deep and gave me everything he had to get it done today.”
The final sled to bomb down the oldest artificial bobsleigh track in the world in the final heat, the two former standout university football players made adjustments as the two sleds in front of them smashed against the start wall.
“I loaded a little earlier on the second run to avoid any skidding. I hate slowing down on my second push more than anything, but I just wanted to make sure things were clean for Lyndon,” said Lumsden. “It is the greatest feeling in the world to know that you have won. It is what motivates me and keeps me going.
“We have such a great crew on this team. There may be only two of us in the sled but the entire team helped us win today. We win as a team and there is nothing that beats celebrating a victory as a team. We are going to start to see that in the four-man too.”
The Canadians were joined on the podium by Latvia’s Oskars Melbardis and Daumants Dreiskens in second at 1:40.60, while Germany’s Francesco Friedrich and Gino Gerhardi slid to the bronze with a time of 1:40.72.
It was the second two-man victory, and fourth podium of the season for Team Rush. They have a stranglehold on the top spot in the Overall World Cup standings.
The victory was the sixth two-man and 10th overall World Cup medal for Rush, who won the four-man Olympic bronze medal in 2010. Rush and Lumsden have combined to win six World Cup medals together, including three victories, in addition to sliding to the silver medal at last year’s World Championships.
“I think as a kid winning meant everything but as I get older I hate to lose,” said Rush.
“I just love executing. When I celebrate, before I even see the time, I love that feeling of just knowing you’ve executed well. We had that today. Things are going well and I am excited for the next couple of weeks leading to World Championships.”
With coach Tom De-La-Hunty shuffling the teams as the circuit edges closer to the 2013 World Championships, two other newly formed Canadian sleds also hit the start line on Saturday.
Justin Kripps, of Summerland, B.C., teamed up with Rush’s other brakeman – Calgary’s Lascelles Brown – to place 10th at 1:41.18. Calgary’s Chris Spring and Edmonton’s Neville Wright were 11th with a time of 1:41.24.
Earlier in the day, Olympic champion Jon Montgomery finished as the top Canuck in the men’s skeleton race. The Russell, Man. native clocked a sixth-place time of 1:43.22.
Eric Neilson, of Kelowna, B.C., also had a solid outing finishing eighth at 1:44.14. Calgary’s Jon Fairbairn rounded out the Canadian contingent in 15th (1:44.76).
A different track, but it was the same winner in the men’s field as Latvia’s Martins Dukurs won with a time of 1:42.07. Germany’s Frank Rommel was well back in second spot at 1:42.54, while Russia’s Alexander Tretjyakov slid to the bronze-medal position on the podium with a time of 1:42.7.