On Monday, bobsled fans were treated to a scene they don’t normally see everyday—two countries sharing the gold medal. That’s just what happened when both Canada and Germany finished with exactly the same time– 3 minutes, 16.86 seconds.
Canada’s Justin Kripps, who won the race with partner Alexander Kopacz, said that he saw the clock on the finish line which confirmed that they were No. 1. He thought at first that Canada won the gold but then he saw the German duo Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis jumping all around.
“And I was like, `These guys are really happy for us,” he said.
Kripps shouldn’t have been surprised. The first gold that Canada won in two-man bobsledding was in 1998. That, too, ended up in a tie with Italy.
Latvia actually was 0.05 seconds away from making it a three-team tie. Instead, the duo of Oskars Melbardis and Janis Strenga got bronze.
“We pushed hard from the first heat to the last and in general I thought we executed better as we went,” Kripps said.
The competition was considered the closest race since the Olympics began. The top bobsled pairs finished 0.13 from each other on the fourth run.
According to the Toronto Star, the coincidences in this game were uncanny. For instance, the first gold of Canada occurred 20 years ago this week. The driver of that team was Pierre Lueders, who actually taught Kripps how to drive.
“He tied for a gold medal 20 years ago. Eight years ago he taught me how to drive a bobsled after he retired. And now here we are, tying for a gold medal,” Kripps added. “I just can’t believe it.”
Meanwhile, Germany’s Friedrich could only breathe a sigh of relief after watching the scoreboard and ending up with the gold. “I thought we would tie or we would get silver,” he said. “We tied and it was fantastic for us.”