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Canada’s Justin Kripps finishes sixth in Olympic four-man bobsleigh final

Canada's Justin Kripps leads his team in the four-man bobsleigh heat 3 run during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, at the Olympic Sliding Centre on February 25, 2018 in Pyeongchang.

MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

Four great pushes weren't enough to get Canada another bobsled podium on the final day of the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Justin Kripps finished sixth in the four-man race, unable to take advantage of the horsepower behind him that provided the best start times in each heat.

The pilot from Summerland, B.C., clocked a combined four-run time of three minutes 16.69 seconds in what was the country's last realistic shot at adding to its national-record of 29 medals at a Winter Games.

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Kripps, Jesse Lumsden of Burlington, Ont., Alex Kopacz of London, Ont., and Ottawa's Seyi Smith tied or set new highs for starts at the Olympic Sliding Centre in three of their four heats, but still found themselves on the outside looking in Sunday.

"Really proud of the crew," Kripps said. "They did their job extremely well. I thought I drove well, just little mistakes.

"For whatever reason we couldn't find the speed down the track."

Kripps and Kopacz tied Germany's Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis for gold in Monday's two-man race, but couldn't match that performance in the four.

"It probably comes down to some mistakes that I'm not feeling with the transition from two-man to four-man," Kripps said. "My sleds are very different."

The 32-year-old was fifth following Saturday's first run, and moved up one spot in the second heat. He sat tied for fourth after Sunday's third run, but fell back two spots on his final trip down the track.

The German sled of Friedrich, Margis, Candy Bauer and Martin Grothkopp won gold in 3:15.85.

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South Korea's Won Yunjong and Germany's Nico Walther tied for silver in 3:16.38.

"We're disappointed, but at the same time proud of the way we executed. That's sports sometimes," Kripps said. "It worked in our favour in two-man. We tied for gold, and that was incredible.

"We wanted to come out and get another medal for the four-man boys, but we just didn't have it."

Hamilton's Nick Poloniato, Cam Stones of Whitby, Ont., London's Josh Kirkpatrick and Ben Coakwell of Moose Jaw, Sask., were 12th in 3:17.81.

Chris Spring of Priddis, Alta., Calgary's Lascelles Brown, and the Edmonton duo of Bryan Barnett and Neville Wright wound up 16th in 3:17.96.

The race marked the end of the line for both Lumsden, a former CFL player who took up bobsled ahead of the 2010 Games in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., and Brown, who competed at every Olympics since 2002.

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"It's going to take a while for it to sink in, but the goal when I came back was to help the team get on the podium," said Lumsden, who took two years off ahead of Pyeongchang before returning to the national team in 2016. "It would be nice to have a medal to hang around my neck.

"I had plans for that medal. It was probably going to get chopped up and distributed to whole mess load of people that I have to thank for all the sacrifices."

The 35-year-old held ninth-month-old daughter Florence as he spoke with reporters, and had partner Helen Upperton – a women's bobsled silver medalist from 2010 and a television analyst at the Games – with him in South Korea.

"I wasn't directly there pushing Justin (in two-man), but I was definitely there to help along the way," Lumsden said. "I'll be proud of that for a long time."

The 43-year-old Brown, meanwhile, retires with a silver in two-man from the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy, and a bronze in the four from 2010.

"I've loved every minute of it," he said. "I just want to thank Canada for all their help."

Fuming after Saturday's heats because of either the track's setup or the equipment used by other countries, Spring was more subdued Sunday.

"It's just bobsled, man," he said cryptically when asked again about his comments. "It's just bobsled. Maybe I'll never understand it.

"As much as sometimes I'm frustrated and have an ill feeling towards the sport, there's so many good times and good people that I've formed relationships with."

The Australian-born Spring, 33, said his future is up in the air.

"I have to listen to my body and listen to my heart," he said. "It would be really nice to keep going because I love this group of guys and I'm excited to help more people be successful in this sport.

"At the same time I have to be realistic, too. We'll see what happens."

After failing to reach a men's bobsled podium at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia, the Pyeongchang Olympics are being viewed as a success by Canadian bobsled officials.

Kripps claimed his gold, while Kaillie Humphries grabbed bronze in the women's race following wins at the last two Games.

All six sleds in the women's and two-man races finished in the top-10, but there's still work to do in the four.

Humphries plans to be back at the Beijing Olympics in 2022, and so does Kripps.

"I'm peaking right now," he said. "I'm hoping that we can capitalize on this and build the program up even stronger than it is."

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