PYEONGCHANG, South Korea >> Justin Kripps and Alexander Kopacz were thoroughly confused when they crossed the finish line. They knew they had just won an Olympic gold medal for Canada, and were puzzled why the rival Germans were running their way to celebrate.
Eventually, it made sense.
The closest Olympic sliding race in history had two sets of winners Monday. Canada and Germany will share gold from the two-man bobsled event at the Pyeongchang Olympics after Kripps and Kopacz finished their four runs in the exact same time as the German duo of Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis.
The winning time: 3 minutes, 16.86 seconds.
“I managed to see the clock that said No. 1 on it,” Kripps said, as the German team sat to his right after the race. “At first I thought that we won outright, and then these guys jumped over and they were super-excited. And I was like, ‘These guys are really happy for us.’”
Well, technically, they were.
Kripps, the final driver on the track, had the lead for much of the fourth heat. But with the margins so close, Friedrich started to think that a shared gold was somehow possible.
Turns out, he was right.
It was Canada’s second gold medal in two-man bobsledding — both coming in a tie. The Canadians shared gold with Italy in 1998, with Pierre Lueders driving that sled for Canada.
Lueders was there Monday night, since he now coaches the host South Koreans.
“Pierre is actually the guy who taught me how to drive a bobsled,” said Kripps, who was born in Hawaii, calls Canada home and also holds an Australian passport. “It was pretty cool that he was here to see it.”