Four-time Olympian, nine-time World Cup medallist Chris Spring retires from bobsled

CALGARY — Veteran Canadian bobsled pilot Chris Spring has announced his retirement, ending a career that included nine World Cup medals and four Olympic appearances.

Spring's career highlights include back-to-back World Cup gold in the two-man bobsled at Whistler, B.C. (2016, 2017).

He added a sliver and two bronze in two-man bobsled and four bronze piloting a four-man sled over his World Cup career. He finished third overall in two-man over the 2017-18 season, with teammate Justin Kripps finishing first.

Spring's best Olympic result was fifth in the two-man competition at the 2014 Sochi Games.

He drove a four-man crew to ninth last year in Beijing.

Spring, 39, started his career with Australia, his birth country, and competed for that country at the 2010 Vancouver Games before switching his allegiance to Canada in 2011.

The Calgary-based bobsledder received his Canadian citizenship on Canada Day in 2013, making him eligible to drive two- and four-man sleds for his new country at the 2014, 2018 and 2022 Olympics.

“I’m still so very passionate about bobsleigh. I never knew that I could love a sport so much," Spring said in a release. "The hype with the team and pushing that sled off the line, coupled with driving a bobsleigh and manipulating it to achieve the exact line, gave me a feeling that I often wonder if I will ever find somewhere else in life.

“That feeling was like an addiction for me, and perhaps the reason why I stayed in the sport so long. However, the time has come to follow many other passions I have in life."

Spring's career was almost cut short early when he was seriously injured in a crash at Altenberg, Germany, during the 2011-12 season. He was airlifted to hospital in Dresden where he received 18 staples to close a wound to his buttocks and upper leg and remained there for eight days.

Ten months later, he piloted a four-man sled to a bronze medal at the 2012 Whistler World Cup event.

“What happened in Altenberg was something I don’t wish upon anyone," Spring said. "It was a real struggle, something that I struggled with every day of my career.

“For a long time, I battled with dealing with that crash and getting over it, but I got to a place where I welcomed the fear that crept in every now and again to remind myself that what we’re doing here is dangerous, but also very special."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2023.

The Canadian Press