01/25/2014 11:07 EST | Updated 03/27/2014 05:59 EDT

Canadian Kripps captures first World Cup title, winning two-man bobsleigh event

KONIGSSEE, Germany - It was an emotional first win for Canadian Justin Kripps.

Kripps, of Summerland. B.C., claimed his first career World Cup bobsleigh race as he and brakeman Bryan Barnett of Edmonton posted a two-run time of one minute 39.71 seconds in a two-man event Saturday. The victory comes after Kripps's grandmother passed away Jan. 6, his 27th birthday.

"I know Baba was there with me today," he said.

Switzerland's Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann were second, 0.15 seconds back. Canadians Lyndon Rush of Humboldt, Sask., and Calgary's Lascelles Brown were third, 0.32 seconds behind their victorious teammates.

American Steven Holcomb was seventh but still managed to capture the overall crown. He finished with 1,645 overall points, 35 more than Hefti.

After posting the fastest first run, Kripps thought of both his grandmother and advice he received from Rush.

"I had that great first run and couldn't stop thinking I could win this thing," said Kripps. "Lyndon pulled me aside and said 'Anytime trophies, medals, victories or anything gets in your head slap yourself and focus.'

"I'm so glad he did that because I'd be lying if that didn't keep coming into my thoughts."

Rush followed suite with his first World Cup medal of the season. Calgary's Chris Spring and Jesse Lumsden, of Burlington, Ont., were eighth in 1:40.31.

With the Sochi Winter Games upcoming, Kripps says anything is possible.

"I don't have much experience in Sochi, but this win sure gives me confidence," he said. "I think this shows anything can happen in bobsleigh.

"If I can put two good starts and two good runs together, who knows what may be."


With files from The Associated Press.