Lueders sixth, Canada 1 crashes out

By TERRY JONES, QMI Agency


Canada 1 sled driven by Lyndon Rush of Humboldt, Sask and Lascelles Brown of Calgary, crashes during Heat 2 of the two-man bobsleigh at the Whistler Sliding Centre in Whistler, B.C. on Saturday, February 20, 2010. (AL CHAREST/QMI AGENCY)

WHISTLER — Canada 1 is done.

And Lyndon Rush was crushed, in more ways than one.

“@#$%!” said Pierre Lueders as he watched his teammate, in position to manufacture a medal, lose it on Turn 13 and crash on the track which has already claimed one life, and sent others to hospital making the bobsled event look like a demolition derby.

Rush ended up sliders up and helmets down, as he and teammate Lascelles Brown made the rest of the second run here Friday night upside down.

“It was like someone punching you all the way down until the sled stopped,” said Brown. “Anyone can crash on any track. We made a mistake.”

They’re now out of the Olympics, while Lueders and Jesse Lumsden — with the third fastest start times in both heats — sit sixth, 0.25 back of a medal. Lueders and Lumsden, who nicked the wall on their first run, ended up moving up from seventh to sixth as the result of the Rush crash.

“I’m sure you could tell by Pierre’s reaction and my reaction that we weren’t happy to see that,” said Lumsden, the Edmonton Eskimos running back and now part-time bobsledder. “He’s a teammate.

“You can’t be happy that you moved up a spot when it’s because one of your guys crashed.”

Humbolt, Sask.’s Rush — who now lives in Sylvan Lake, Alta. — and his Jamaican bobsled teammate Brown, who pushed Lueders to a silver medal four years ago at Turin 2006, were third after the first run and in excellent position to claim a medal for Canada today as the Olympic bobsleigh wraps up with runs three and four.

On the same course where Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed Friday, the event had eight crashes at one practice this week, sending two sliders to hospital and had three others wrong-side-up on the first day.

“That was just terrible,” said Lueders, a few minutes after watching the crash on the big screen scoreboard. “That hit was classic going into Turn 13,” he added, of the impossibility of getting the sled back in control.

Rush was kept in the medical station, as is the requirement for all sledders involved in a crash. While he had cuts on his hands, he said both he and Brown were fine.

Lumsden helped Lueders to the third fastest start time, 4.78 behind Rush’s fastest start of the first run at 4.76 but went wobbly early.

Brown was plus 0.10 on the Germany 2 sled driven by Thomas Florschuetz, while Lueders was plus 0.37.

German veteran Andre Lange, the three-time Olympic champion who also owns an Olympic silver medal, ended up in first after the second run of the event which continues today with a two hour delay of the planned start time because of weather forecasts in the area.

Lumsden, wearing a McMaster University t-shirt under his uniform, said they haven’t put down a good run yet.

“Do I think we have a chance to get that medal,” he answered “Yeah! Chip away. Chip away. Do what John Montgomery did in skeleton Friday.”

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca

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