February 17, 2006

Jamaican-born is Canada’s secret weapon

By Patrick Vignal

CESANA, Italy (Reuters) - Canada's Pierre Lueders believes
he will win bobsleigh gold at the Turin Games courtesy of his
Jamaican-born brakeman, Lascelles Brown.

"With him here we've already won," Lueders said of Brown,
who was granted Canadian citizenship just before the Olympics.

"Hadn't he been here, we wouldn't have had a chance," said
the Canadian driver, who won two-man gold at the 1998 Winter
Games in Nagano. "Now with him we can do anything."

The athletic Brown, who was a member of the Jamaican
bobsleigh team from 1999 to 2004, moved to Canada in 2002.

Since joining the Canadian team's program two years ago,
Brown has developed into one of the world's top brakemen,
enjoying plenty of success with Lueders on the World Cup

Brown, 31, became a Canadian citizen just a few days before
the January 29 deadline for presenting the bobsleigh teams to
the International Olympic Committee.

He will compete with Lueders in both the two-man and
four-man events.

Lueders said his own mother had played a role in bringing
Brown to the Olympics, after a chance meeting with a
high-profile politician in a flower shop last month in

"It was by accident," Lueders said. "My mom happened to be
in the same flower shop as Anne McLellan, who was at the time,
in January before the election in Canada, deputy prime

The two started chatting away, Lueders' mother explaining
that her son was going to the Olympics and was hoping that his
Jamaican brakeman could be granted Canadian citizenship on

"She (McLellan) said 'Look, have Pierre give me a call at
home'," Lueders said.

"I tried and tried. Finally, I got hold of her. She
wouldn't make any guarantees but said she would look into it at
a higher level. She was true to her word."

Bobsleigh action at the Cesana track starts on Saturday
with the first day of the two-man competition.