SIGULDA, Latvia – Christine de Bruin and Kristen Bujnowski captured World Cup bronze in the two-woman bobsled on Sunday, and coming at the end of a very tough week for the Canadian team, were happy to have been able to race.
Canada has 11 athletes and three staff members in COVID-19 protocols due to an outbreak in the team.
“We didn’t put a lot of pressure on ourselves today,” Bujnowski said. “This week was really hard. We were worried about our teammates and stressed about our own COVID test results all week so we were just grateful to be able to compete.”
The bronze comes a day after de Bruin won gold in the women’s monobob.
De Bruin, a 32-year-old from Stony Plain, Alta., and Bujnowski, a 29-year-old from Mount Brydges, Ont., recorded a two-run combined time of one minute 42.12 seconds on the 16-corner track, to secure their seventh World Cup medal since they teamed up after the 2018 Olympics.
“Mission accomplished,” said de Bruin. “We wanted to work on our consistency and rack up some points to prepare for Beijing (Olympics), and we did just that. We were consistent in our pushes and in driving down the track, so we are happy with that.”
The Canadians were fourth after the first run, but climbed into the bronze spot by posting the top time on the second run, and second-fastest start time.
“Our push times were very close today and being second ranked on our second push was exciting. Every time I have pushed here, I have felt very comfortable and confident,” said Bujnowski.
Americans Elana Meyers Taylor and Lake Kwaza won the gold (1:41.88), while Mica Mcneill and Adele Nicolle of Great Britain edged out the Canadians for silver (1:42.10).
De Bruin has been on a tear through the Olympic season. The 2018 Olympian now sits first overall in the World Cup monobob standings after back-to-back World Cup victories in the discipline. She’s second overall in the two-woman standings.
“It will be very important (to have a high ranking) in Beijing because it seems like the ice deteriorates quickly there so we need to stay high in the ranks to give us the best shot at an Olympic medal,” de Bruin said.
Justin Kripps of Summerland, B.C., and Cam Stones of Whitby, Ont., were eighth in the two-man.
Germany’s Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis won gold, Great Britain’s Brad Hall and Nick Gleeson took the silver, while Latvia’s Oskars Kibermanis and Matiss Miknis were third.
The World Cup now travels to Winterberg, Germany.