Dying grandma predicted Olympic win - Canadian gold medallist

Tuesday February 20 2018

Canada's Justin Kripps celebrates after his team won the gold medal at the end of in the 2-man bobsleigh heat 4 final run during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, at the Olympic Sliding Centre on February 19, 2018 in Pyeongchang. PHOTO | MARK RALSTON |

Canada's Justin Kripps celebrates after his team won the gold medal at the end of in the 2-man bobsleigh heat 4 final run during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, at the Olympic Sliding Centre on February 19, 2018 in Pyeongchang. PHOTO | MARK RALSTON |  AFP

By AFP
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PYEONGCHANG

Canadian bobseligh star Justin Kripps said his dying grandmother predicted he would win Pyeongchang Olympic gold — and he did just that in her honour in extraordinary circumstances.

The Hawaii-born bobsleigh pilot and his brakeman Alexander Kopacz finished in a dead heat with Germany in the two-man event on Monday to share gold in a thrilling climax.

It was just the second time in history that has happened — the first time also involved Canada, at Nagano in 1998.

Speaking on Tuesday, the 31-year-old Kripps said the achievement had only now begun to sink in and revealed the heartache that propelled him to the Olympic crown.

"I got a call a few days ago from my mum to say that my grandma in Australia had passed away," said Kripps, whose parents were aid workers, meaning he spent his childhood living in several different countries and has family in Australia.

"I decided to just kind of keep it quiet for the moment and just personally reflect on that for a bit and dedicate the race to her, and focus back up and get ready for the task at hand," he added.

"I was really happy that she lived long enough to see me walk into the opening ceremonies and I think that was pretty special.

"She also picked me to win gold in the two-man so she was still pretty sharp in her final days. I was really happy that we could get it done in her honour."

There was nothing to choose between the Canadians and Germany, piloted by four-time world champion Francesco Friedrich, with both teams totalling an identical time of 3:16.86 over four closely contested heats.