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Four good runs will do for bobsledders

21 February 2010

Australia’s two drivers in the Two-Man Bobsleigh competition, Chris Spring (AUS-1) and Jeremy Rolleston (AUS-2), have a simple enough aim: to put down four good runs, and see where their times place them.

However, as everyone around the Whistler Sliding Centre over the past week or so has come to understand, that is much easier said than done.

In training a number of sleds have finished the challenging, 16-curve course on their sides or upside down, including crews representing Switzerland and bobsleigh powerhouses Germany and Austria.

Meanwhile Australia’s Chris Spring and Duncan Harvey tipped over on their second training run, with Harvey being taken to the Whistler Athletes Village Polyclinic for a check up. He subsequently missed the four remaining training runs, which Spring completed with Anthony Ryan.

Two days later, Harvey is still suffering from a sore back and it is yet to be decided whether he or Ryan will take the seat as Spring’s brakeman when competition gets underway on Saturday afternoon (Vancouver time).

“I didn’t see it coming,” Spring said of the crash. “When that happens, I just try to tuck in tight and keep my head off the ice and hope my brakeman does too.”

Spring says there are a couple of parts of the track, in particular, that cause the drivers some issues.

“The biggest issue (for me) is the exit to curve 12, leading you in to 13. You hit the left wall if you don’t steer aggressively or come in too late,” the 25-year-old Darwin native said.

As to the frequency of crashes throughout the training heats, Spring wasn’t all that surprised.

“I won’t say I’m not having the same issues,” he conceded, “but I seem to have a good ability – not all the time – but the ability to get out of a bad situation if I have to.”

Rolleston piloting at his second Games has been happy with his training runs. His brakeman Duncan Pugh is achieving his childhood ambition of competing at the Olympics.

Canada’s number one sled, piloted by Lyndon Rush, has been the most impressive in training, with Germany 2 , driven by Thomas Florschuetz, also setting an impressive pace.

Andre Lange will pilot Germany 1 as he looks to repeat his gold-medal-winning performance of four years ago, while Canada’s number two sled, driven by Torino silver medallist Pierre Lueders, will have plenty of crowd support.

Also look for the one remaining Swiss entry, the number 2 sled piloted by Ivo Rueegg, American Steven Holcomb, Germany 3 with Karl Angerer in the driver’s seat, and even Dutchman Edwin van Calker, who has recovered from a crash in the first training run to post some good times.

Murray Brust

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