Sledders go with the Flo

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:08 AM ET

Jayson Krause bounces through the crowd, flashing a 100-watt smile that could melt ice.

He's got that old 'Flo' back and the Okotoks bobsleigh pilot couldn't be more excited about the upcoming World Cup season.

Krause's two- and four-man sled brakeman Florian Linder returns this season after missing all of last year's circuit with a broken ankle.

And Linder's sporting that nervous tension as the Canadian team prepares to depart Calgary for the season.

"I don't even know what words I could use to describe it," Linder said as the entire bobsleigh and skeleton teams were announced yesterday. "I'm so excited to be back. We can start to qualify for the 2006 Olympics this season."

In the Canada II sled behind veteran Pierre Lueders, Krause and Linder were closing the gap on the bobsleigh elite.

A ninth-place finish at the 2003 world championships in Lake Placid was enough to give the duo confidence their team was heading in the right direction.

They followed up with a solid summer of training but disaster struck right before the 2004 season. The 26-year-old Linder rolled his ankle over and the injury dealt both of Krause's teams a blow.

"It threw us back, not having him in the push and me mentally not knowing what would happen on the two-man team," said Krause, 27. "After the nice finish at the world championships, we just went the opposite way."

When Linder injured his ankle, the ligament broke off a piece of his tibia. The strange break wasn't obvious at first, so after two weeks in an air cast, the Morrin, Alta., native tried getting back in the sled.

He travelled with the team through their first few events, which in hindsight was a mistake.

"It was a hugely frustrating year," Linder adds. "Standing on the sidelines is something I don't want to go through again."

So when Krause finished the 2004 season, he and Linder made a decision. They spent this summer working day and sometimes night making their relationship seamless.

"I can just leave him, let him prepare the equipment," Krause said. "I can go focus mentally. Having him in the back of the sled, he knows the little things that will help me. He'll know the few words to say to me just before we're about to take off, just from working with me. We've developed those sorts of things."

And it was just as important to Linder having Krause as a positive, upbeat influence, especially during times Linder didn't know he would get back to the same competitive level.

"Coming back from an injury is draining," Linder said. "I used him this summer to stay mentally focused to make sure it never happens again."


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