On Wednesday, Canada’s bobsleigh team for the first three World Cup races of the 2015-16 season was named – *naturally – with the help of synchronized swimmers.
*There is no natural connection here, or is there? More on this below.
Pan Am Games synchro champions Jacqueline Simoneau and Karine Thomas, who qualified a duet team to Rio 2016 in the process of winning Toronto 2015 gold, were on hand to assist in the unveiling (pun intended) of the male bobsledders through a synchro routine put together on the spot.
Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton will be sending three sleds to the opening World Cup competitions. The lone women’s team will feature double Olympic gold medallist and reigning Lou Marsh award winner Kaillie Humphries. Melissa Lotholz will be her brakeman.
On the men’s side, Olympians Justin Kripps and Chris Spring will pilot the two-man sleds, while Kripps (a medal winner last season) takes Canada’s lone four-man vehicle to the three opening events of the World Cup season. The brakemen available to Kripps and Spring are Alex Kopacz, Josh Kirkpatrick, Derek Plug, along with Olympians Ben Coakwell, Tim Randall and double Olympic medallist Lascelles Brown.
The decision to send fewer sleds to the international stage was explained by high performance director Chris Le Bihan saying “our goals are completely clear – (it’s) to win medals.” Le Bihan asserted this was “a team of world-class athletes” and that the individuals who met the organization’s standards are all “capable of standing on the international podium.”
A leaner approach to the season means Humphries, who piloted a historic four-man sled in the male dominated discipline last year, will not have a chance to continue that path in the early going this season.
As for that aquatic connection, “there are incredible synergies we share with synchro,” Le Bihan insisted. “None more striking than the importance of working together as a cohesive unit. The start is critical in our sport and the crews need to communicate with each other and operate in perfect sync.”
Whether or not the reader buys the teamwork and harmony dissertation, there is no denying that the following gifs created from the
synchro bobsleigh announcement aim to please.