Justin Kripps

Dale (DJ) Aguirre
Justin Kripps

Hey #Beastmode, take a seat, if you haven’t seen the posts, there’s a new kickass hashtag in town, (currently in Sochi). Meet #Beardmode, the official motto of Canada’s burly-whiskered bobsledders that represents how they blaze a trail down to the finish line. The term has gained momentum not only with Justin Kripps’ four-man team known as Team Kripps, but also with fans across the globe. Tim Randall, brakeman on the team and originator of the term hosts his own Beardmode website that states, “I am dedicated to growing my beard like I am dedicated to my bobsleigh training. It’s also part of a team effort. Everyone in my sled now is growing a beard—we’ve really bonded over it. Plus… it looks good!”

The team has recently gained a lot of social media buzz, resulting in a gang of loyal followers. When Kripps recently tweeted a pic showing the team stripped-down to their underwear for their Olympic weigh-in, it went instantly viral making headlines from The Huffington Post to People Magazine. Kripps was kind enough to take time out of intense training, packing, and of course, beard maintenance to chat before heading out to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. When asked about the reaction to the infamous pic, he lays it out simple, “It’s no secret that we’re sexier with beards, its just science.”

This will be Kripps’ first time competing as a pilot for the Canadian bobsled team, but it’s not his first Olympic debut. He spent three seasons as a top brakeman in Canada, leading him to Pierre Lueders’ four-man crew at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Following that experience, he decided to move up to the pilot seat with the goal of competing at Sochi 2014 with his own crew, and after just two seasons on the World Cup circuit, he qualified his sled to the games. “I’m really looking forward competing in front of such a huge crowd again, and just representing Canada at the biggest sporting event in the world with my buddies.” He also shares, “the ice conditions might be challenging, though it could play in our favor, too.” This is also the first time in history that Canada will be sending three sleds to the Olympics; Team Kripps, Team Spring, and Team Rush.

The fun-loving Canadian bobsledders will be the ones to watch compete in the Winter Games starting Feb.16th through Feb. 23rd, not only for their skills finessing the track, (and placing top 5 overall last 2010 Winter Olympics), but also for crushing the stereotypes of what modern Olympians look like. “It just kind of happened, my teammate Tim grew a pretty serious beard, and I feel the bearded image better represents the Canadian bobsleigh lifestyle. We’ve gotten a mixed response, but the love has definitely been stronger. Our coach however is ex-British military and he hates it,” laughs Kripps. “The commentators are also always talking about it when we race, and all my pals at home love it.”

Regardless of the overall consensus, all signs point to the fellas keeping their razors on hold. “It would be hard to shave,” reveals Kripps, “this beard and I have had some of the best times of our lives together.” The guys are also team players when it comes to optimizing maximum beardedness, “We definitely help each other out, James McNaughton even helped trim my beard recently because I was sure I’d ruin it, I even had a nightmare about it.” To keep his beard from getting unruly, Kripps notes Beardbrand Beard Oil at the top of his list. “I use it every day and it really takes it to the next level. I can’t even imagine what would have happened if we had oiled our beards before our weigh-in.” Considering race times are recorded in hundredths of seconds, he could be on to something.

When Kripps is not steering his sled to victory he likes to enjoy some of the finer things in life, “I like to go hack up a golf course once in a while, explore the outdoors, light up a nice cigar and have a couple fingers of bourbon—when my coach isn’t looking.” As for now, his mind is in full Beardmode aiming for the gold. A few days before departing, he tweets, “Sleds loaded, bags packed, World Cup done, beard oiled and combed. Off to Sochi! #Beardmode” Already gold medalists in the division for Best Bearded Bobsledders, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for Team Canada. Beards know no boundaries, and we wish them the best of luck here from the US!

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