2011 Hall of Fame Inductee: David MacEachern

Dave MacEachern is a groundbreaking bobsleigh athlete whose accomplishments have inspired countless young sledders and helped set the stage for Canada’s record three bobsleigh medals at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

A three-time Olympian, MacEachern competed in both two-man and four-man bobsleigh at the Winter Games of 1992, 1994 and 1998. Despite a low profile and limited resources, he and three others narrowly missed a bronze medal in Albertville in 1992, finishing fourth. Throughout the 1990s, the Charlottetown native was a force on the international circuit, particularly in the two-man event with Pierre Lueders. He amassed 28 World Cup medals, five World Cup titles, and a 1996 world silver medal in his career. He was recognized by many as the best brakeman in the world.

What happened at the Nagano Olympic Winter Games was a watershed moment for Canadian sliding sports. In February 1998, MacEachern and Lueders had four terrific runs and captured gold – Canada’s first-ever Olympic medal in the two-man event. This came despite an ankle chip fracture and torn quadriceps MacEachern had suffered the year before. The Olympic title helped trigger significant funding into Canadian bobsleigh, and captured the imagination of a swath of young athletes. To this day MacEachern said he receives messages from up-and-coming athletes who are gracious for his inspiration.

MacEachern had his hands in the genesis of Canadian bobsleigh, lifting it into public view. After his success, the sport edged toward the forefront of winter sports. Now, after a magical 2010 Olympic Winter Games that included Canada’s first women’s medals, the explosive athletes of bobsleigh are front and centre.

Post-competition, he returned to P.E.I. to build “Dynamic Fitness”, which delivered sport-specific physical conditioning programs. His company opened in 2001 and became a leader in Atlantic Canada. Dynamic Fitness opened the province’s first Pilates studio in 2002 and its first hot yoga studio in 2009. He recent opened a second location – in Moncton.

He became a professional strength coach for many clients, including NHL players Brad Richards and Adam McQuaid and sprinter Jared Connaughton. Many of the province’s future elite athletes come under his tutelage. At the 2009 Canada Games, he coached Matthew Caseley, (gold medalist, hammer throw) and Kurt McCormack (bronze, triple jump) – both of whom will aim to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.

MacEachern was inducted in P.E.I.’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. He is an expert commentator on bobsleigh and skeleton, now in his 10th season with CBC, and covered both the 2002 and 2006 Olympic Winter Games. A motivational speaker for the past 15 years, he has shared his story of inspiration and overcoming obstacles with tens of thousands of children and corporations across North America.

His motto, reflected in the wake of being an Olympic champion: “Believe, and achieve.”