Jesse Lumsden Refocuses Athletic Career on Driving Canadian Bobsleigh to 2014 Olympic Winter Games
May 17, 2011
CALGARY—Jesse Lumsden has decided to hangup his football cleats and focus on driving his Canadian bobsleigh towards the2014 Olympic Winter Games.
The 28-year-oldCalgary resident will officially retire from the Calgary Stampeders toconcentrate his time on developing into an elite bobsleigh pilot. Consideredone of the best backs in the CFL when healthy, and one of the most athleticallygifted Canadian running backs ever, Lumsden was recruited to bobsleigh in 2009when he teamed up with Pierre Lueders to finish fifth in both the two- andfour-man events at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
“Therewere a number of things that led me to this decision to retire from football,but most importantly, I want my focus to be directed on representing Canada inbobsleigh, and winning a medal for my country at the 2014 Olympic WinterGames,” said Lumsden, who announced his retirement during a media availabilityat the start of the Olympic Track in Calgary, symbolically representing the beginningof his new career. He was joined with teammates from both sports includingStampeders’ quarterback Henry Burris and legendary Canadian bobsleigh athlete,Lueders, who will now mentor Lumsden as a driving coach.
Selectedsixth overall by the Hamilton Tiger Cats in the 2005 CFL Canadian College Draftafter a four-year standout career at McMaster University where he won the HecCrighton Torphy in 2004, Lumsden accumulated 1,797 yards on 285 carries andnine touchdowns, along with 49 receptions and 630 yards for two touchdowns overfour years as a Tiger Cat.
TheBurlington, Ont. native signed a contract with the Edmonton Eskimos in 2009where he started the first game of the season against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers,carrying the ball twice for five yards and catching three receptions for 20yards before dislocating his shoulder, forcing him to have season-endingshoulder surgery. After miraculously rehabbing in time to compete for Canada inmen’s bobsleigh at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games on home ice inVancouver-Whistler, Lumsden signed with the Calgary Stampeders in September2010 where he committed to playing whatever role that was asked of him. He wasthe leading rusher in his second game where he scored a touchdown in his finalCFL carry. In his third game, Lumsden suffered a season-ending knee injury. Lumsdenwon the CFL Player of the Week Award six times in his career and Player of theMonth award once. He was Hamilton’s nominee for Outstanding Rookie Award in2005.
“I am sograteful for everything that football has given me. I had the opportunity toplay in the CFL, in front of my hometown crowd in Hamilton. I got to be in thesame locker room as my dad in Edmonton, and end my career playing well with anincredible group of guys in Calgary. I will miss my teammates and being in theroom with friends that I now consider family,” said Lumsden. “But the biggestthing I will miss is the fans. I had such great support through the ups anddowns, and Canadian football fans stood by me right to the end.”
That fansupport followed him to the bobsleigh track at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
“The support in Vancouver was truly thegreatest experience I have ever had,” said Lumsden. “To see how proud ourcountry got for the athletes, and how we all came together as a united nationover two weeks was incredible.”
While rehabbing from his latest footballinjury, Lumsden moved from the back of the bobsleigh into the driver’s seatwhere he has been training to become a pilot for the Canadian Bobsleigh Team. Explosiveand fast, Lumsden will now focus on working his way onto Canada’s World Cupsquad as a pilot, and ultimately, represent his country at the Sochi Games in2014.
“Having the opportunity to race with PierreLueders, and learn from one of the sport’s greatest athletes, allowed me to seeso many different aspects of bobsleigh,” said Lumsden. “I was quickly hooked onbobsleigh, and I am looking forward to Pierre now working with me as a drivingcoach. Bobsleigh, like football, is a team sport. You have to rely on yourteammates all the time if you want to excel.”
Used to spending time preparing for elitecompetition in two sports, retirement from football will bring little respiteto his calendar if Lumsden has his way. From being touted as a franchise player tobattling multiple career-threatening injuries, Lumsden has never given up.While competing for Canada at the 2010 Games, he also was forced to battlethrough a cancer scare after lesions were discovered on his throat. The hard-nosedCanuck endeavours to share his journey to the 2014 Games by embarking on apublic speak tour to share his story of battling adversity with all Canadians.
“The only thing that got me through all thehard times and my scare with cancer was the people I had around me. My supportgroup was critical and they are the heroes in my eyes because they put theirdifferences aside, and got me through each day,” said Lumsden. “I now want todo the same and make a difference for other people. What I’ve been through isnothing compared to what some of the kids that I visit in hospitals areexperiencing. I want to do what I can to get others through each day andmotivate other Canadians to be better people.”
Lumsden will continue his training at WinSport’sCanada Olympic Park in Calgary during the summer months in preparation for BobsleighCanada Skeleton’s selection trials this fall. To follow Jesse Lumsden’s journeyto the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, or to book him for a public speakingopportunity, please visit his web site at www.jesselumsden28.com
BobsleighCANADA Skeleton is a non-profit organization and the national governing bodyfor the sports of bobsleigh and skeleton in Canada. With the support of itsvalued corporate partners - VISA, Dow Chemical, Adidas, Schenker Canada - alongwith the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium,Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton develops Olympic and world champions. Please visit usat www.bobsleighcanadaskeleton.ca