LAKE PLACID, NY—Team Spring heads into the holiday break having won back-to-back bronze medals at the bobsleigh World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y.
For the first time in his career, Calgary’s Chris Spring reached the podium in both the World Cup two- and four-man bobsleigh podiums in the same weekend.
The 32-year-old Spring piloted his newly recruited crew of Calgary’s Lascelles Brown, Cam Stones (Hamilton, Ont.), and CFL star receiver, Sam Giguere (Sherbrooke, Que.) to the bronze medal after blazing down the 20-corner Saturday afternoon in Lake Placid track with a time of 1:48.71in the four-man event.
“It was just a great weekend. I was confident after yesterday’s performance and I‘ve been driving well here all week,” said Spring. “I get a lot of confidence from the boys behind me. I believe in myself, but when other people believe in my ability, I take a lot more confidence from that. Those guys believe I’m the best pilot out there, and if they believe that, it allows me to as well.”
Sitting in sixth spot after their first descent down the 1,455-metre track, a strong start combined with a clean drive propelled the Canadian sled to the second-fastest down time in the final run at 54.46, bolting Team Spring onto the podium.
“I really feel both runs were great. Being a top-10 sled we had an unlucky draw in 15th which is the last spot we could be in the first run,” added Spring. “The track deteriorates a little bit here and there was a couple of crashes ahead of me in the first run so I think the difference was just in the draw today. Sometimes you get lucky with that and sometimes you don’t.”
It was the Australian-born Spring’s second career four-man medal. Friday’s triumph with Lascelles Brown on his brakes was his third career two-man medal, and the first time reaching the podium on a track outside of Canada.
Spring’s first World Cup podium came four years ago when he claimed the bronze in the four-man race at the Whistler Sliding Centre. He and Brown also won the two-man gold in Whistler last year. His only other two-man podium came in Calgary during the 2014 Olympic year.
“I tell people a lot of the time the reason why I do this sport is not only for my own personal resume, but it really is for the guys behind me,” said Spring. “I want to be successful for them to be successful. To have them on Team Spring means a lot to me. They were so pumped at the bottom so it was great!”
One of those guys was 31-year-old Sam Giguere who quickly exchanged his football shoes after playing out the season with the Montreal Alouettes for bobsleigh spikes this fall.
“It feels awesome. Chris drove well the whole week. He was flying in that second run, and it was fun to be a part of helping get us on the podium,” said Giguere, who has been splitting time between bobsleigh and football over the last three years.
With the two-time Olympic medallist Brown serving as the backbone of Spring’s sled over the last two years, the two-time Olympian was most happy for the new recruits on his sled including Giguere and Cam Stones – seeing them hop onto their first World Cup podium.
“The feeling is no different than winning the big game in football,” added Giguere. “You battle with your teammates, you go through hardships of training and getting ready and you get beaten up a bit, but this is what I strive for and why I come out. I could spend my offseason chilling at home and taking it easy, but that is not what I’m about. I’m here for the competition. To have the opportunity to jump in the sled with Cam, Lascelles and Chris is just a great opportunity.”
Switerlan’s Rico Peter piloted his crew of Janne Bror van der Zijde, Simon Friedli and Thomas Amrhein to the gold medal with a time of 1:48.31.
The American sled of Steve Holcomb, Carlo Valdes, James Reed and Samuel McGuffie took the silver from the Canadians by a nose, finishing one-hundredth of a second ahead at 1:48.70.
One day after winning the silver in the two-man event, Justin Kripps and his crew struggled to a ninth place finish.
Kripps, along with Jesse Lumsden (Burlington, Ont.), Josh Kirkpatrick (Calgary), and Ben Coakwell (Saskatoon), stopped the clock at 1:49.07.
Canada’s final four-man sled driven by Nick Poloniato crashed in both heats and did not finish.
It was a week to remember for Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, racking up five medals in men’s and women’s bobsleigh and women’s skeleton racing.
The IBSF World Cup bobsleigh and skeleton circuit now heads into the holiday break until January 6 when it will resume in Altenberg, Germany.
Men’s Four-Man Results:
- Rico Peter/Janne Bror van der Zijde/Simon Friedl/Thomas Amrhein, SUI, 1:48.31; 2. Steven Holcomb/Carlo Valjdes/James Reed/Samuel McGuffie, USA, 1:48.70; 3. Chris Spring, Calgary/Cam Stones, Hamilton/Lascelles Brown, Calgary/Sam Giguere, Sherbrooke, Que., CAN, 1:48.71; 4. Codie Bascue/Frank Delduca/Adrian Adams/Samuel Michener, USA, 1:48.76; 5. Yunjong Won/Jinsu Kim/Junglin Jun/Jeahan Oh, KOR, 1:48.80
Other Canadian Results:
- Justin Kripps, Summerland, B.C./Jesse Lumsden, Burlington, Ont., Josh Kirkpatrick, Calgary/Ben Coakwell, Saskatoon, 1:49.07; DNF. Nick Poloniato, Hamilton/Dan Sunderland, Calgary/Derek Plug, Calgary/Keenan MacDougall, Saskatoon/