WHISTLER, B.C. — Chris Spring doesn’t have a problem talking about the day his life changed forever.
The Canadian bobsled driver was involved in a serious accident during a race on Jan. 5, 2012, that put him in the hospital with serious injuries and left him questioning his future in the sport.
Just over four years later, he climbed atop a World Cup podium for the first time.
The Calgary duo of Spring and Lascelles Brown won gold in men’s two-man bobsled Saturday with a two-run time of one minute 42.76 seconds to kick off a raucous celebration with teammates and fans at the Whistler Sliding Centre. Amid the cheering and backslapping, Spring took a moment to reflect on how far he’s come since his horrific crash on the track in Altenberg, Germany.
“It was something that I don’t wish upon anyone and it’s been a real struggle, something that I struggle with every day of my career,” said the 31-year-old. “I never hide that.”
Earlier Saturday, Kaillie Humphries and Melissa Lotholz also won gold for Canada in the women’s bobsled event.
Spring and Brown were second at the midway point of their race, but grabbed top spot when Russia’s Alexander Kasjanov and Aleksei Pushkarev made a mistake early in their second run.
“I knew coming into this race I’m one of the best drivers in the world,” said the Australian-born Spring. “If we have the start that we did it’s pretty easy to have the confidence going into a race and knowing I can win a race. We showed that today.”
Latvia’s Ugis Zalims and Intars Dambis won the silver in 1:42.96, while Kasjanov and Pushkarev took bronze in 1:43.00. The Russians, who also finished third in Friday’s two-man bobsled race, set a new track record during Saturday’s first run with a time of 51.31 seconds.
Justin Kripps of Summerland, B.C., and Alexander Kopacz of London, Ont., were fifth in 1:43.09.
Spring’s best finish in two-man this season coming into the weekend was 12th, but he and Brown tied for fifth on Friday and knew there was more left in the tank.
“I love this kid,” said the 41-year-old Brown, who only recently rejoined the Canadian squad to push for Spring. “I always believed in him.”
Spring also owns a World Cup bronze in two-man and another in four-man, but Saturday was far and away the highlight of his career, adding: “There’s no better feeling than being a winner on your own track.”
Humphries, meanwhile, didn’t like what she saw halfway through her race.
The good news was the two-time Olympic champion topped the leaderboard after breaking her own track record. The trouble was three other sleds had also surpassed the old mark, with Jamie Greubel Poser of the United States just 0.06 seconds back.
“It was a lot closer than I wanted it to be,” Humphries said with a smile afterwards. “I was expecting a way bigger lead in my head, but this is the sport. They really applied the pressure.”
And Humphries responded. The Calgary pilot and Melissa Lotholz of Barrhead, Alta., stepped up with their second track record of the day, racing to a two-run time of one minute 45.37 seconds for their fourth victory of the season and second in as many weeks.
“I’m no stranger to pressure,” said Humphries, who set a new fastest time of 52.66 seconds. “I don’t like it, but it’s one of those things that comes along with the sport when you’re pushing the highest levels.”