Latvian bobsled athlete Jānis Ķipurs, whose Soviet team won Olympic gold in 1988, is the new driving coach for the American women’s squad, the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (USBSF) has announced.
“Jānis is a great addition to our coaching staff,” Darrin Steele, USBSF chief executive officer, said in an Aug. 10 announcement. “We are lucky to have him on the team. Jānis provides the driving experience we were looking for to round out the strengths of Dave Owens on the women’s coaching staff.”
Ķipurs, 52, began sliding in 1980 for the Soviet Union until 1990, and continued his career as a pilot with Latvia until 1992 following the collapse of the U.S.S.R. Ķipurs’ athletic résumé includes Olympic gold and bronze medals from the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, three World Championship and two European Championship medals.
“I have a lot of nice memories from my sliding career, including winning Olympic gold,” Ķipurs said in the announcement. “There have also been many excellent moments in my coaching career when my athletes received Olympic and World Championship medals.”
Ķipurs coached the Swiss team for 10 years, and the French, Canadian and U.S. teams for two years each. Athletes he coached have earned eight Olympic and 12 World Championship medals.
“I am looking forward to seeing the athletes I will be working with and building plans for the next and following seasons until the Olympics in 2014,” Ķipurs said.
His main responsibilities as the U.S. women’s bobsled driving coach include pilot feedback during training and competitions, analyzing drive lines on the track, and managing video review.
Ķipurs, who is originally from Cēsis, has 21-year-old twins, a son and daughter, as well as a 26-year-old son. He is fluent in Latvian, English, German and Russian, and served two years Soviet armed forces sports battalion before attending technical school in Rīga until 1980.
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