Fear the beards? We love them, says Kripps

Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:07am EST
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By Justin Palmer

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - They are easily distinguishable - four Canadian men with bushy beards creeping out from underneath their crash helmets. They could easily pass for lumberjacks if they were not bobsledders.

It started as a way to help team bonding and the luxuriant whiskers have continued to sprout on the chins of Justin Kripps, Tim Randall, Bryan Barnett and James McNaughton - the four-man crew who make up the CAN-3 sled.

Randall got a head start on the others and sports an impressive flocculent dark black mane. His own website says he is "dedicated to growing my beard like I am dedicated to my bobsleigh training".

The team even have their own Twitter hashtag: #Beardmode

"It was an Olympic thing to start with ... team bonding, make the other nations scared of us, make all the girls want us," Kripps, who pilots the CAN-3 sled, told Reuters.

"Pretty much all of us have fallen in love with them, we've got a lot of attention from it.

"We started in September, Tim in May. He got a head start on us but I think we're all looking good, they're all pretty much hanging out the helmets now so that's what we want. I've had some of the best times of my life with this beard."

The quartet caused a bit of stir last month when the pony-tailed Kripps tweeted a picture of himself and his shirtless team mates posing in their underwear.   Continued...

Canada's pilot Justin Kripps (front) and his teammates speed down the track during a four-man bobsleigh training session at the Sanki Sliding Center in Rosa Khutor, during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics February 19, 2014. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann