'Business' of bobsled takes Lueders to Russia

Posted: June 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm

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Pierre Lueders realizes some folks might look on his acceptance of the job as head coach of the Russian bobsled team as a defection of sorts.

But the face of the Canadian bobsled team for the better part of two decades is happy to explain the realities of life coaching elite amateur sport.

Despite all the romanticism surrounding the Olympics, coaches come and coaches go from country to country to country, Lueders says. In many ways, the five-ring circus is more like the National Football League or National Hockey League than most people think.

"It's no different than if Brent Sutter is coaching the Calgary Flames one month and then two months later, he's coaching the Edmonton Oilrs," said Lueders, a transplanted Ed-montonian living in Calgary. "It's a business now. I paid my loyalties to Canada as an athlete and then some as a coach as well.

"Coaching is a business. At the end of the day, the challenge and the opportunity of coaching in Russia is very much like when I was a young guy starting in bobsleigh."

In other words, he's pumped.

Just last week, Lueders announced his resignation as development coach for the Canadian team. He later told the Herald he wanted to spend more time with his family while he considered his options.

As it turns out, the 41-year-old entertained coaching offers from three countries. Canada wanted him to stay on in an elevated role, per-haps as a technical coach. Another country (Lueders refused to say which one, but Switzerland is a good bet) asked him to come over as head coach.

The Russian offer proved too tantalizing to turn down.

"This is a tremendous offer to coach a host nation at the Olympics," Lueders said. "I was very fortunate that I was an athlete preparing at a home Olympics, so I have a pretty good perspective on what I was like as an athlete."

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'Business' of bobsled takes Lueders to Russia

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June 5th, 2012 at 2:15 pm

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