Winter Olympics plan takes shape
LESS than three months after fearing for his life following a horror high-speed crash in Germany, former Coast-based Olympian Chris Spring has rebounded in style.
Spring, who moved to Calgary to represent Canada after the 2010 Winter Olympics, finished the season by piloting Canada's two-man crew to first and second-place finishes at the recent America's Cup at Lake Placid in the US.
The performance means Canada can enter a maximum three two-man crews in next season's World Cup.
It was a dramatic turnaround in fortunes for Spring.
The Germany crash, which left him with a badly lacerated buttock and upper leg, occurred in January at a training run at the World Cup stop at Attenberg.
The impact tore apart Spring's four-man sled.
He lost a lot of blood and was airlifted to hospital, where he had a piece of wood removed from his buttocks.
Two of his crew members were also hospitalised.
At the time of the crash, his crews were ranked in the world top 10 for both the four and two-man bobsleigh.
"I am now back to about 90% and the guys (his injured teammates) are all around 75% or better in their recovery," Spring said yesterday via email.
"We still have a long way to go to be back at our best, but with the support we have had over the last few months I am sure we will be back to our best next season, and I know we will be a contending team for a medal in (the) Sochi 2014 Olympics."
Reliving the accident that derailed his "breakout" season, Spring said he thought he was going to die.
At first, he said, he had no idea how "intense" the situation was.
"It wasn't until people started rushing to us, ambulance sirens in the background and really the looks on people's faces - that told me, hey, this is pretty serious," he said.
"Hearing the boys in the back breathing … I actually thought they were dying.
"That's when panic set in and I wanted so badly to go and help them, but I physically was not capable of doing so."
Spring represented Australia at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics before defecting to Canada due to disgruntlement over what he regarded as a lack of financial support from Australian bobsleigh officials.
He still regards last season as a success, despite the crash resulting in him missing the final four World Cup events and the world championships at Lake Placid in February.
"The team was having a good time - we were bonding really well and we were having so much fun on tour," he said.
"There were really only high points the whole first half of the season."