According to the Edmonton Sun, Canadian Olympic champion Pierre Lueders is packing his bags for Russia. Lueders announced today that he has agreed to the position of Head Coach of the Russian Bobsled and Skeleton team only two years prior to the 2016 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
Lueders, a native of Edmonton, won the Olympic Gold medal with Dave MacEachern of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano and then an Olympic Silver medal with Lascelles Brown of Calgary at the 1996 Olympic Winter Games in Torino.
According to CBC News, Lueders left the Canadian program as their development coach on May 24. He originally said he needed to take a break.
A major reason why Lueders took the position in Russia was because in Russia he would have complete control, while if he stayed in Canada, he was asked to focus on the technical aspects of bobsleigh in his coaching.
Lueders, is joining another Canadian in Russia. Edmonton’s Randy Ferbey is the head coach of the Russian Curling Team. Meanwhile Canadian speed skating great Jeremy Wotherspoon is coaching in Germany.
Lueders will be working very closely with 2011 World Champion Alexandr Zubkov.
My reaction to this is it is a complete shame that we are losing great athletes to other countries as coaches once they retire. Canadian sports federations need to start meeting to explore ways they can simply keep them.