CALGARY—Canada will not compete in the BobsleighWorld Cup in Altenberg, Germany this weekend following a serious crash by ChrisSpring and the Canada 2 sled during four-man training on Thursday, BobsleighCanada Skeleton announced on Friday.
Tom De La Hunty, head coach of the CanadianBobsleigh Team, made the decision on Friday after theAltenberg Track and FIBTofficials did not make safety changes to the corner following a review of theincident on Thursday.
“This is a highly technical track that has ahistory of crashes,” said De La Hunty, who was told changes would be made tothe corner following the crash to ensure the safety of the athletes. “Ireviewed the corner this morning, and the track crew simply replaced the pieceof wooden board that was damaged. Repairs to the corner were not enhanced, ordone to an acceptable safety standard so there are no guarantees the same thingcannot happen again.”
“My ultimate responsibility is the health andsafety of the team of athletes I represent,” said De La Hunty who added theathletes were disappointed, but agreed with the situation. “I am simply notcomfortable sending them down this track under these conditions, and I amconfident this is the right decision for the best interest of our entire teamand national program.”
The 27-year-old Spring, of Calgary, hit the roofupon entering corner 16 due to a late entry, continued through the corner wherehe also made contact with the roll-over barricade on the exit of corner16. The force and speed at which the sled was travelling, and the abruptstop encountered, added to the significance of the crash. Three of the fourmembers of the team sustained what was initially believed to be serious, albeitnot life-threatening injuries.
Various medical personnel from the team, thetrackand various other participating nations responded immediately to the athletescare. Chris Spring was airlifted to Dresden University Hospital where he is instable condition with a broken nose, lacerations and bruising sustained in thecrash.
Bill Thomas, 26, was ground transported viaambulance to Dresden University Hospital, and has been cleared of major backinjury which was originally suspected. Thomas is also recoveringfromvarious bruised lungs and minor trauma. He remained with Spring inhospital overnight for observation.
Graeme Rinholm, 26, was ground transported to thelocal Pirna Hospital with a broken fibula, lacerations to his upper legs,buttocks and underlying musculature. He also remained in hospitalovernight for observations.
Toronto’s Tim Randall, 25, sustained minorinjuries, but was not seriously hurt in the incident.
“This an extremely unfortunate incident that weare taking very seriously,” said Don Wilson, chief executive officer, BobsleighCanada Skeleton. “The reality is all high-performance sport has a significantelement of risk to it and unfortunately sometimes these incidents occur. Thatbeing said, we have complete trust and support in Tom and our experienced staffthat they are making the proper decisions to ensure the safety of ourathletes.”
“Chris and his crew are world-class caliberathletes and their results to date are reflective of that. “We’re trying tokeep it very positive at the moment and will continue to concentrate on theirimmediate health.”
Members of Canada’s bobsleigh squad plan tocompete again when the World Cup travels to Konigssee, Germany, January 13-15,2012.
Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton is a non-profitorganization and the national governing body for the sports of bobsleigh andskeleton in Canada. With the support of its valued corporate partners – VISA,Dow Chemical, Adidas, KBC Helmets, Eurotech – Viking Engineering, SAITPolytechnic, Therapeutica – along with the Government of Canada, CanadianOlympic Committee and Own the Podium, Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton developsOlympic and world champions. Please visit us at www.bobsleighcanadaskeleton.ca.