Canada count on Jamaican breakman
Canada's Pierre Lueders believes he will win bobsleigh gold at the Turin Games courtesy of his Jamaican-born brakeman, Lascelles Brown. "With him here we've already won," Lueders said of Brown, who was granted Canadian citizenship just before the Olympics.
"Hadn't he been here, we wouldn't have had a chance," said the Canadian driver, who won two-man gold at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano. "Now with him we can do anything".
The athletic Brown, who was a member of the Jamaican bobsleigh team from 1999 to 2004, moved to Canada in 2002.
Since joining the Canadian team's programme two years ago, Brown has developed into one of the world's top brakemen, enjoying plenty of success with Lueders on the World Cup circuit.
Brown, 31, became a Canadian citizen just a few days before the Jan. 29 deadline for presenting the bobsleigh teams to the International Olympic Committee.
He will compete with Lueders in both the two-man and four-man events.
Lueders said his own mother had played a role in bringing Brown to the Olympics, after a chance meeting with a high-profile politician in a flower shop last month in Edmonton.
"It was by accident," Lueders said. "My mom happened to be in the same flower shop as Anne McLellan, who was at the time, in January before the election in Canada, deputy prime minister."
The two started chatting away, Lueders' mother explaining that her son was going to the Olympics and was hoping that his Jamaican brakeman could be granted Canadian citizenship on time.
"She (McLellan) said 'Look, have Pierre give me a call at home'," Lueders said.
"I tried and tried. Finally, I got hold of her. She wouldn't make any guarantees but said she would look into it at a higher level. She was true to her word."
Bobsleigh action at the Cesana track starts on Saturday with the first day of the two-man competition.