Olympian to lead Penticton Peach Festival parade

One of the top bobsled pilots in the world will lead the Peters Bros. Grand Parade

One of the top bobsled pilots in the world will lead the Peters Bros. Grand Parade during the Penticton Peach Festival.

Olympic gold medallist Justin Kripps, who was born in Hawaii but grew up in Summerland, will be the parade marshal on Aug. 11 and take part in the opening ceremonies and hold an autograph session on Aug. 8 at Okanagan Lake Park.

Related: Olympic gold medallist returns to Summerland

Kripps said he has fond memories of Peach Festival.

“I would go all the time when I was a kid and even as an adult I would come back consistently to be in the Okanagan in the summer and to visit Peachfest,” said Kripps. “I remember as a kid it was so fun because there were all these people in town and so much energy. It was a big deal when I was a kid and I still feel that way when I check it out as an adult.”

Kripps won gold with brakeman Alex Kopacz in the two-man bobsled event. They were part of just the second ever tie for an Olympic gold medal, matching the four-run total time of the team from Germany.

Video: B.C. superfans soak in PyeongChang Olympics

“We are so proud of all of our Olympic athletes from the Okanagan and happy to have Justin share his gold medal with everyone at the Penticton Peach Festival,” said festival president Don Kendall.

Kripps enjoyed the best World Cup season of his career in 2017-18 when he won the overall title in the two-man event after reaching the podium five of eight races and never finishing lower than fourth. He also had two podium finishes in the four-man event to be the top pilot in the combined rankings.

Related: Canada wins gold in bobsleigh

Kripps, who took two months off from training after winning gold at PyeongChang, said he is getting ready for the World Cup circuit and another four years of preparing to compete in his fourth Olympics in 2022 which will take place in Beijing.

The bobsled pilot recently was in Summerland visiting the schools and said one of the greatest things is being able to share his Olympic medal with Canadians.

“It really is one of the coolest things. I want to share it with as many people as I can. It came full-circle for me during my recent tour of the Summerland because I remember being in a class and being so inspired when we had Olympian Curt Harnett speak to us when I was young,” said Kripps.

The Penticton Peach Festival takes place from Aug. 8 to 12 and features headliners Kim Mitchell (Aug. 8), April Wine (Aug. 9), George Canyon (Aug. 11) among other acts. For more information visit www.peachfestival.com and follow them on Facebook @PentictonPeachFest, Twitter @PeachFest18 and Instagram @PentictonPeachFestival.

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