Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Berg

Altenberg, Germany is home of one of the most technical difficult tracks in the world and arguable one of the most dangerous. Last week, we made our first stop of the second half in Altenberg. On the last day of World Cup training we were quickly reminded that there are incredible risks to what we do. Canadian pilot Chris Spring has been enjoying a break out season and was like all of us ready to conquer ‘the berg.’ The Canadian Federation was prepared to send their athletes, including Chris, to Altenberg for some extra training this fall, but prior to departing the German Federation decided that the extra trips on this difficult track would not be possible.

Unfortunately, Team Spring crashed in corner 16 and were then shot through the wooden lip of the track. These lips are created to push the sleds down and keep them from flying out of the track. Many very experienced pilots have had the same difficulty in this corner, but the lip prevented the accident from being more severe and allowed them to all walk away. This crash was horrific mostly because the lip did not do what it is designed to causing incredible damage to the sled and athletes. Fortunately, Chris and his crew of Tim Randall, Bill Thomas, and Graham Rinholm are all in stable condition, but suffered very serious injuries from the impact and debris.

After this accident, I was shocked to hear that we were still racing the very next day. In my opinion the track should have been deemed unsafe because the wood on the lips had clearly rotted. Had someone else crashed and hit the lip in any of the corners the same result could have happened. There are many things that could have prevented this accident from being as horrific as it was and I am hoping that this crash will help to change how the European tracks run. Good luck with your recovery Team Spring and we are all looking forward to seeing you back on the ice soon.


Anonymous said...

Wow Em stay safe and be careful, love Bud