Pierre's double delight

OTTAWA -- Pierre Lueders went from looking good to good-looking yesterday.

"It's looking good,'' Mike Chambers, president of the Canadian Olympic Association said here of Lascelles Brown gaining his Canadian citizenship in time to compete for Canada as Lueders' brakeman at the Turin Olympic Winter Games.

A few hours later, in Konigssee, Germany, Brown pushed Lueders to his first World Cup win of the season.

Chambers said he expects Brown will be successful in gaining his citizenship under exceptional circumstance provisions.

He said he expects it to happen on Jan. 24.

That's one day after the federal election and two days before the Canadian Olympic team is announced.

Chambers, the Canadian Olympic Committee president, was offering his opinion at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships here that it wasn't looking good on the citizenship front for Chantal Lefebvre's Russian dance partner Arseni Markov, but that he expected the opposite to be true for bobsledder Brown.

Markov has been with Lefebvre a year and a half. He doesn't come close to the qualification standard - 1,095 -day residence requirement.

Canadian citizens

Brown, who is married to a Canadian and the father of two children who are both Canadian citizens, pushed Lueders to the two-man world championship last year.

On the phone from Konigssee, where he won both runs of the two-man event by a combined total of .03 over Mathias Hoepfner of Germany, the Edmonton driver said his fingers are still crossed.

"There's been a lot of fumbling on the goal-line. I don't know for sure. It's not for sure until it happens,'' said Lueders, who said he became optimistic enough to keep Brown in the sled for the final three races leading up to Turin.

'' One thing I know is that the Canadian Olympic Association hasn't been part of the process. From my point of view, they haven't done a lot.''

The driver who had two sevenths, a fourth and a third entering the race, was home for Christmas and said he and Brown returned to Europe much more optimistic that the whole issue - which was expected to be handled way before the season began - would reach a successful conclusion.

"We just decided to come back over here, think good thoughts and try to get good results to take with us to Torino,'' said the pilot, who won Olympic two-man gold with pusher Dave MacEachern in Nagano in 1998.

Wanting a good race

"We've been wanting to have a good race all year. It's been so difficult to focus with Lascelles' citizenship issue. But I had a good Christmas at home.

''We did a lot of work on the citizenship.

''I got informed of what was going on. There is nothing we can do anymore but just go out and race and wait for things to happen.''

Lueders said the win was a big one.

"It shows I'm alive,'' laughed Lueders of his lack of results so far this season.

"It's a good way to start 2006. Lascelles had good starts. We came out with a strong run. We lost a little bit at one point of the second run. But we got it back. It was good. It was only one race, but it's certainly better than what's transpired so far. It's nice to know we can still win.''

Bobsledders have tracks they like, and tracks they hate, and Lueders says it's remarkable that his three favourite tracks are the last three on the schedule heading into Turin, and the track where he won silver in both two-man and four-man at the pre-Olympic test event last year.

"I won my first world championships here,'' he said of Konigssee.

"I like the quirks of this track and I've been fast ever since.

''There are certain ones I do better on than others, and this is one of the better ones.''

Up next is the famed natural run at St. Moritz, Switzerland, that ABC's Wide World of Sports made famous in North America.

"It's really long. It starts in one town and ends in another, and it's supposed to be super fast this year,'' said Lueders.

"Then we go to Altenberg, Germany, where I've also done well in the past.''

But it's the week between St. Moritz and Altenberg when Brown is "looking good'' to become a Canadian.

That's when Canada's bobsled medal chances will look good again.