July 1, 2013 was a very special Canada Day for bobsleigh pilot Chris Spring. His citizenship ceremony took place, making him eligible to represent Canada at Sochi 2014. Now a dual citizen, Spring will be competing at his second Olympic Winter Games, but his first for Canada. Representing his native Australia, Spring piloted his two-man sled to a 22nd place finish at Vancouver 2010.
Spring discovered bobsleigh at age 23 when he moved to Calgary on a one year work visa as part of his travels around the world. He happened to catch the 2007 Canadian Championships and was immediately hooked. He researched how to get involved in the sport and in 2008 attended driving school in Calgary to learn the fundamentals of piloting a sled. After two years competing on the developmental circuits, he made his Olympic debut.
Following the 2009-10 season, Spring began representing Canada. The 2011-12 season was to be his first full year on the World Cup circuit. A regular top-10 finisher in the first half, his season came to an end in January 2012 when he lost control of his four-man sled during a training run on the technically demanding track in Altenberg, Germany. Spring sustained a major puncture wound to his buttocks and upper leg area from debris that came through the bottom of the sled. He was airlifted to hospital in Dresden where he received 18 staples to close the wound and remained for eight days.
Returning to World Cup competition in 2012-13, Spring had his breakthrough when he won four-man bronze in Whistler. At the 2013 World Championships, he was the top Canadian in the two-man event with his sixth place finish. He went on to finish sixth in two-man and seventh in four-man at the World Cup stop in Sochi that served as the Olympic test event.
Outside Interests: Wherever the World Cup circuit takes him, he enjoys mingling with the locals and experiencing their culture… In the past has worked during the summer as a bobsleigh driver for tourists at Canada Olympic Park… Is part way through an education degree but has been unable to attend university since 2006 due to his bobsleigh travel schedule… Olympic Memories: Had his Olympic dream sparked by watching the Sydney 2000 Games… Was unable to attend because they were more than 1000km away from his hometown but watched on TV… At the time he was a 100m sprinter and knew he wanted to be an Olympian while watching Maurice Greene win 100m gold… Odds and Ends: Nickname: Springer… Always kisses his helmet on the Canadian flag before putting it on and when taking it off after every run… Puts temporary tattoos on his calves, one of a Canadian flag or maple leaf and one of an Australian flag… Carries an old winter glove at the bottom of his competition bag…