SPORTS

Canada announces bid for 2019 bobsled and skeleton world championship

03/23/2015 05:32 EDT | Updated 05/23/2015 05:59 EDT
WHISTLER, B.C. - Justin Kripps would like to compete on home soil more often, and he just might get that chance.

Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton announced Monday it's bidding to host the 2019 world championship at the Whistler Sliding Centre.

"It would be amazing if we got it. It would be huge for Canadian athletes and great for Whistler," said Kripps, a 28-year-old bobsledder. "We were griping a bit about the fact that we only had two races in North America this year. We're always in Europe for 10 weeks and the Europeans get to go home between races. It makes for a really long tour for us."

The Whistler venue hosted the sliding events at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and has also staged multiple World Cups, as well as the 2013 luge world championships.

Canada last held the world championship in 2005 in Calgary, and high performance director said Chris Le Bihan said events like this are critical to the sport's growth.

"There's nothing like it," said the former Olympian. "There's nothing like the big show on your own home track."

The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation is expected to announce the winning bid in June.

The Whistler track is the same one where 21-year-old Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died just hours before the start of the 2010 Olympics, prompting criticism the course was too fast.

Kripps said the track is challenging, while also adding he feels it's safe.

"It has some really unique corners that you don't find anywhere else," said the slider from Summerland, B.C. "It's the fastest track in the world, and it's very technical and challenging. That's what the bobsled community wants. We want to race on technical tracks where if you're going to win it's because you drove really well. It's not necessarily going to be because you have the most expensive sled."

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