Pierre's world - again

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:12 PM ET

CALGARY -- In Germany they may write this as Pierre Lueders winning his second world two-man bobsled championship by a heartbeat and a heart attack. But in Canada you have to write it as a back-to-back involving a whole lot of heart. "It took me 14 years to win the first one. When I started, I never thought I'd be world champion two years in a row and once at home,'' said the Edmonton pilot as he repeated his feat on his home track here last night.

"There's a big history in the sport of bobsled in terms of that trophy. if you get a chance to take a look at it, there are no other Canadians that are on there,'' he said of the silverware.

Lueders became the first Canadian to win consecutive world championships. No other Canadian has ever won gold in the two-man. Vic Emery, Canada's only other Olympic gold-medal winner, won in the four-man event and also won a pair of four-man titles, but not in consecutive years.

Lueders became the first to win a home-country world championship - and did it by 0.14 seconds here last night.

Last year, Lueders finished first ahead of German legend Christoph Langen on Germany's Winterberg track to win by 0.22 seconds. Langen, who has won five world two-man titles, was unable to compete this year due to a heart attack.

Lueders wasn't sure which was better, winning the first one or the home one.

"The first is always special because it's the first. But, boy, was this fun. And, man, is it satisfying to win it at home for all the people who have supported me for the last 15 years.''

ENDED UP WITH A LEAD

Lueders was fifth, 0.13 seconds behind the leaders after Friday's first run and ended up with a lead of 0.05 seconds after nailing the second run Friday.

Again producing the best time in the 39-sled field, Lueders ended up 0.20 seconds in front of Germany's Andre Lange after the initial run last night.

He went into the final run with a 0.32 lead on Switzerland's Martin Annen, the World Cup two-man champion who loads himself into his sled with a toilet paper company's logo plastered on his posterior.

And with an edge of 0.41 on Germany's Rene Spies, Lueders had effectively won his fifth world championship medal before his final run.

"I knew after the third run it was over. I knew that even if I made the mistakes I made, like touching a couple of the walls, what 0.20 is when you run here. There are certain lines which are safer and more risky on this track. I took the safer ones on my first and fourth runs and the riskier on my second and third.''

A LANGEN-BUILT SLED

Lange, driving the Germany 1 sled Langen built and had intended to run himself this year, ended up second with Annen 0.34 seconds back of Lueders to win the bronze.

The 34-year-old, who won a silver medal the last time the world championships were held here in 1996 and two more silvers in the intervening years, has now won five two-man medals. Only five pilots have ever won more.

Lueders, who won the Olympic gold medal at Nagano in 1998 with Dave MacEachern as his brakeman, won the world championship last year in Konigssee, Germany, with Giulio Zardo pushing.

In Brown, he has now won another gold with yet a different passenger.

Or put another way, he won the world this time with a second-stringer in his sled.

The question is if Brown has won himself a permanent position as Lueders' pusher?

A new recruit to the Canadian team this season, Brown replaced Zardo, suspended for the season for allegedly punching his coach.

A graduate of the Cool Runnings Jamaican bobsled team, which had its beginning on this very track at the 1988 Olympic Winter Games here, Brown set a start record of 4.78 at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games pushing for Jamaica.

Not eligible at this moment, Brown hopes to compete at next year's Winter Olympics in Torino for Canada.

"First year in the program and he wins the world championship. How good is that?'' said Lueders.

Brown was over the moon.

"I'm so happy, mon. It don't get no better than this unless it's the Olympics. So I'm pretty happy, mon.''


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