Lueders, Lumsden champs

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 6:58 AM ET

Matt Hindle went to the Olympic bobsled track in Whistler, B.C., fixated on one number last night - 4:86.

"That will really tell the tale where he's at," said the Bobsled Canada program director of Edmonton Eskimos running back Jesse Lumsden's rookie run with driving legend Pierre Lueders in the two-man event at the national championships.

"That was the start time of Pierre with David Bissett at the World Cup race here earlier this year," said Hindle of the Edmonton brakeman in the same sled as Lumsden.

Trouble was the ice conditions were so bad on the track that not only did they cause considerable delays, the times didn't really tell any tales.

Lueders and Lumsden won the Canadian title together but the soft ice at the start resulted in start times of 4.93 and 4.89.

"The ice was really bad but Jesse pushed really well. There wasn't anywhere near the conditions for a comparison but I thought he did a very good job," said Hindle.

Lueders gave his pusher a rave review, all things considered.

"The ice was a little soft today but I was pretty pleased with the first run. In the second run I just wanted to make sure we got down safely," said Lueders as they passed the cell phone around.

"For an athlete new to the sport, he pushed pretty well.

"I was especially impressed how he fit into the bobsled community, with his teamwork and how dedicated he is. I think he's going to fit in pretty well with the Eskimos," he said of the son of Neil Lumsden of the five-in-a-row glory gang.

Lumsden said being that it was only about his 11th time in a bobsled, he wasn't going to make any observations about the ice or his times.

"For me, it went very well. I'm happy. I made improvements from the first run to the second run. I really enjoyed how much everybody got jacked up for the race. I loved it. I loved everything about it.

"I mean I just got finished winning the Canadian championship with the greatest of all time, wearing 'Canada' on my uniform and I see there's a podium over there ..."

Lueders said it was a good deal all around.

"He's pretty excited about this sport. But after this weekend, the last thing we want is for him to be distracted for the football season," he added of the running back who will compete with Lueders in the four man event today along with another newcomer, Edmonton track and field athlete Neville Wright.

Hindle says while he believes Lumsden has the ability to be an Olympic bobsledder, they're not going to get ahead of themselves here no matter how he did with Lueders in the low-key event featuring drivers and sleds from the various levels of the Canadian program.

"Football is the No. 1 priority with Jesse. At the end of camp we'll evaluate and then we'll revisit it at the end of football season next year," he said of the player who missed the last half of the last two seasons with major shoulder injuries with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

"It's one thing to go to a camp and do the dry land training, which he did as much to prepare himself for the football season as anything. Now he's having this experience. It's a whole 'nother thing to compete at a World Cup and Olympic level. We don't want to put that kind of expectations on him. After this weekend, the main thing for Jesse will be this football season."

Lumsden agreed.

"June 1," he said.

That's the day Eskimos training camp opens.


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