Lueders decides to retire

From bobsleigh to renovations?! Pierre Lueders, helping his parents fix up a Parkdale house...

From bobsleigh to renovations?! Pierre Lueders, helping his parents fix up a Parkdale house Wednesday, is retiring. (DAVID BLOOM/QMI Agency)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:04 PM ET

Pierre Lueders has decided to hang up his bobsled.

Literally.

“It’ll be hanging from the ceiling in a bar in Nanaimo,” said the Edmonton bobsled pilot of the four-man sled he completed his career driving in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

“I’ve never been too sentimental about equipment. And that sled didn’t have too many wins in it,” he laughed.

Lueders has always marched to his own drummer and it’s typical of this true great in Canadian sports history that he’d retire the way he did Wednesday, from a ladder while painting a house for his mother in Edmonton.

“I’m not big on press conferences and any big to-dos. I always said that when I retire I’d just move on to my next thing in life.”

That next thing, operating as a roving coach for Bobsleigh Canada, will likely be announced in the next few days.

The words came easier than expected and without emotion.

“I’m not going to be sliding anymore,” he said.

“I took some time to be 100% sure. I kept my options open. But to put a new team together and to acquire new equipment ...

“After 20 years and five Olympics I decided I’ve run my course. I’ve decided to accept a coaching role from Bobsled Canada. There are not too many coaching opportunities out there and I decided if I’m going to coach I want it to be coaching Canadians. I didn’t want to be a mercenary coaching a country other than Canada.

“The first half of the season I’m going to be coaching our developmental teams in the Europa Cup. One of my pushers, Justin Kripps, is going to be driving this year. It’ll be terrific to be able to work with him.

“Then I’ll join up with the World Cup teams for the second half of the season in Europe, as well.”

He’ll take a slightly larger role in helping father Heinz run his considerable business interests, involve himself in a couple of his own business ideas but won’t be walking away cold turkey from bobsleigh.

“It’s a great opportunity to give something back. I learned a lot from good coaches and learned a lot about what not to do from bad coaches.

“And I’ve been coaching a lot in recent years the way it’s worked. I was quite active with Helen Upperton, Kaillie Humphries and Lyndon Rush. I do have some experience.”

He said it was actually working with Humphries which convinced him it was time to become a coach.

“I was able to explain to Kaillie how to drive a specific corner at Whistler, which she did perfectly, and I wasn’t able to do it myself,” he said of the part he played in helping her win gold in the the Olympic two-man while he finished fifth.

Lueders leaves behind an awesome body of work, in both his sport and all of Canadian sports history.

Years Competed Internationally: 20.

Olympic Games: 5.

Olympic Gold Medals: 1.

Olympic Silver Medals: 1.

World Cup Medals: 88.

World Cup Gold Medals: 34.

Two-man World Cup Titles: 4.

Four-man World Cup Titles: 1.

World Cup Combined Titles: 4.

World Championship Gold: 2.

World Championship Silver: 4.

World Championship Bronze: 2.

Overall Medals Won: 98.

Staggering statistics. And maybe the most impressive is the first one. Years competed internationally.

“The highlight to me was being able to have been one of the top six in the world for such a long period of time, basically from 1992 to 2010 with only a couple of so-so seasons in there.

“It’s satisfying to be able to look back and realize how much I was able to win. I had a pretty good run for a pretty long time. It’s something I’m pretty proud of.

“About the only goals I didn’t accomplish were to win an Olympic gold in the four-man and a world championship in the four-man. You can’t have it all.”

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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