Christine de Bruin cannot look forward to the possibility to journey to Beijing and compete at her second Olympics. The veteran bobsleigh pilot needs to point out the world she and brakewoman Kristen Bujnowski are critical medal contenders for Canada.
De Bruin additionally needs to be in a metropolis the place she is not not involved about contracting coronavirus.
“We did our [Olympic] check occasion in Beijing [in October] and it is the most secure I’ve felt all season as a result of we acquired examined consistently and there was a bubble [environment] there,” de Bruin informed CBC Sports over the cellphone this week from St. Moritz, Switzerland, website of this weekend’s ultimate Olympic qualifier and season-ending World Cup occasion.
Beijing reportedly won’t alter its COVID-19 prevention measures for the Olympics except there are quite a few circumstances contained in the closed-loop bubble, wherein members can solely depart if they’re leaving China or bear quarantine.
The emergence of the Omicron variant has resulted in some citywide lockdowns in a bid to restrict outbreaks and stop them from spreading to different elements of China.
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For Bujnowski, who sat out final season due to COVID-19 restrictions after straining her proper calf, that is her first time coping with weekly testing within the bubble.
“It’s very simple for it to turn out to be a distraction,” she stated of the virus. “The nicest factor about coaching and being on the monitor is I do not give it some thought. Being current in your sport takes you away from the fear.”
However, there have been some stressed nights for the Canadian duo, who awaited a PCR check outcome after they had been uncovered to a teammate that examined constructive.
“We assume we lucked out a little bit as a result of we did have some dinners collectively, however me and Kristen determined to go away [for the break] with our vital others,” stated de Bruin, who positioned seventh with Melissa Lotholz at her first Olympics in 2018.
“We went to a distinct lodge and I feel [when the others] had been probably the most contagious we weren’t there.”
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With the Olympic opening ceremony in three weeks, de Bruin and Bujnowski not work together with different squads whereas crew alternate Janine McCue is their lone dinner visitor.
“As athletes we’re at all times put in very excessive stress conditions so I really feel we are able to cope. We do not need [the virus] to overhaul us and our efficiency.”
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Bujnowski, who served as an alternate on the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, has discovered it tough being separated from her boyfriend Josh Williamson, a brakeman with the United States crew making ready for his Olympic debut.
Getting to Games prime precedence
“He’s a five-minute drive away however I can not go hang around as a result of I do not need to expose him to probably something I’ve been uncovered to or expose my crew to something,” stated the 29-year-old from Mount Brydges, Ont. “The subsequent couple of weeks it is necessary we prioritize attending to the Games. We have our complete lives collectively after this.”
Unlike earlier seasons on tour, the free-spirited de Bruin has restricted her journey to see husband and pilot Ivo de Bruin, who’s making an attempt to turn out to be the primary Dutch bobsledder on the Olympics in eight years.
Graham Richardson, crew supervisor and technical driver coach for Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, famous a few of the pre-pandemic distractions, together with socializing with others, have disappeared this season.
De Bruin and Bujnowski enter the weekend with a top-three Crystal Globe end to the season of their grasp. They path solely American Elana Meyers Taylor and Laura Nolte of Germany within the two-woman world standings, whereas two-time Olympic champion and former Canadian teammate Kaillie Humphries is 127 factors behind in fifth.
We’re attempting to have consistency in our races we may be pleased with that I’m fairly certain will end in [an Olympic] medal.— Canadian brakeman Kristen Bujnowski on her and pilot Christine de Bruin
The two-time world bronze medallists have earned 4 bronze in seven occasions on the World Cup this season since putting third on the Beijing check occasion.
“We perceive some weeks we’re not going to be the very best and a few weeks we’ll be nice. It’s one of many issues that makes us a superb crew,” stated Bujnowski, who had a breakthrough 2018-19 marketing campaign with de Bruin profitable two World Cup silver medals earlier than capturing world bronze.
“We’re attempting to have consistency in our races we may be pleased with that I’m fairly certain will end in [an Olympic] medal.
“We get alongside and have a variety of respect for one another’s talents.”
“Christine had an inclination when working quick behind the sled to have a shorter stride size that will kill her velocity,” Richardson stated of the 32-year-old native of Stony Plain, Alta. “In her common coaching, she’s labored at ensuring the steps are extra highly effective. Her begin instances are getting higher however, extra importantly, the rate’s getting higher.
“Christine is aware of when to get within the sled to let Buj speed up. It’s so technically tough to get into the sled [to] add velocity, however working with Jamie McCartney, our push coach, they’ve improved an awesome deal.
“There’s no one they have not crushed,” continued Richardson, “so they are not going to have stage fright [at the Olympics]. Hopefully we are able to get right into a safe, COVID-free bubble [in Beijing] and put that fear on the shelf so we are able to consider performing and bringing [a medal] again to Canada.”
Canada’s Olympic bobsleigh crew is scheduled to be introduced Jan. 20.