Calgary's Chris Spring wins bobsleigh gold for 3-medal week on Europe Cup circuit
36-year-old returns to sport in style after sitting out last season to rest
Chris Spring continued to shine Saturday on a German track that has challenged the three-time Olympian throughout his bobsleigh career.
The 36-year-old Calgarian and his four-man crew capped a triple-medal performance in Altenberg with an emotional victory in Canada's return to the Europe Cup circuit.
"Today I learned a great life lesson," Spring told Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton after crossing the finish line in one minute 50.08 seconds. "If you just keep going, keep showing up, be patient, endure and believe, you can still surprise yourself, even at my age.
It was Spring's first competition in over a year after he chose to sit out last season to rest. During that time, he also worked to acquire his pilot's licence.
Spring's stellar week was extra special, given it coincided with the ninth anniversary of his horrific crash during a training run in Altenberg that sent him and his crew to hospital on Jan. 5, 2012.
'There's a lot of emotions that surround this track and my history here," he said. "For a long time, I battled with dealing with that crash and getting over it. I think I've [reached] a place now where I like to welcome the fear that creeps in every now and again to remind myself that what we're doing is dangerous, but also very special."
Spring began the week prevailing in two-man with Mark Mlakar of Mississauga, Ont., on Thursday and capturing two-man silver the next day with Ottawa's Mike Evelyn. Shaquille Murray-Lawrence, a CFL free-agent running back from Scarborough, Ont., joined the trio on Saturday.
'We are enjoying the moment now'
Spring noted several top German pilots have helped him conquer any fears of the past, offering advice on how to commandeer the 17-corner chute.
"I always believed we could come back and win here," continued Spring, "but when it happens, it really is a special moment. We are enjoying the moment now, but we know when we come back for world championships [in February] the competition is going to be much harder.
"We still have a lot of work to do but for right now, we will try and take this moment into next week where all of the guys will debut on the World Cup Tour in St. Moritz [Switzerland]."
A pair of German sleds rounded out the podium in 1:50.10 and 1:50.50, respectively.
Germany also swept gold and silver in the two-man bobsled race Saturday in Winterberg, Germany, with Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis getting the win over Johannes Lochner and Eric Franke. Austria was third with Benjamin Maier and Markus Sammer.
The four-man bobsled race in Winterberg is Sunday.