The largest Canadian contingent of bobsleigh and skeleton athletes ever is headed to the 2018 Winter Olympics.
On Wednesday, those athletes were announced at Calgary’s Aviation Park. From their dramatic chopper arrival, to team photos on top of an F-18 fighter jet, speed seems to be the watchword for these Games.
“The expectation is to go out there and win everything. The Olympics are the Olympics,” said Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton high-performance director Chris Le Bihan.
A record 24 Canadian athletes in bobsleigh and skeleton are heading to South Korea in the hunt for 15 medals.
Two-time Olympic gold medallist Kaillie Humphries is in great form to top the podium again.
“Winning is very important and that’s what I’m going out to do,” she said.
“But, at the end of the day, this is about the Olympics and being on the biggest stage in the entire world but really being able to go out there and show what Canada has to offer. You really get that feeling with this entire team, which is awesome,” Humphries said.
Joining Humphries to pilot the three female bobsleighs are Christine De Bruin and Alysia Rissling.
On the men’s side, the pilots will be first-time Olympian, Nick Poloniato, third-time Olympian Chris Spring, and Canada’s top pilot on this year’s World Cup circuit, Justin Kripps.
“I’ve had an amazing season this year, a lot of success on the World Cup and we’ve got just a great group of people — the team is amazing.
“We’ve got some killer looking sleds so we’re going to be flying down the track and hopefully grabbing a bunch of medals,” Kripps said.
Seeing the sled designs unveiled made the Olympic dream seem even more real for the six skeleton athletes competing for the first time for Canada. They include two Calgarians: Barrett Martineau and Elisabeth Vathje.
“Bobsleigh and skeleton have a rich history of getting results,” Vathje said. “With our focus and drive that we all have, I don’t see why we can’t be bringing medals home for Canada.”