Take a look at Lascelles Brown’s resume as a competitive bobsledder representing the Maple Leaf flag, and you’re sure to be impressed.
The accomplished brakeman has participated in each installment of the Olympic Winter Games since 2002 in Salt Lake City; a successful run that yielded a silver medal in the two-man event at the 2006 Games in Turin and a bronze medal in the four-man event at the 2010 Games in Vancouver. He scored another silver in the four-man event at the 2007 World Championships.
Take a look at Brown’s bio, and you’re sure to be blown away by the very circuitous route he took to bobsledding and Team Canada.
Brown was born in 1974 in Jamaica, well before the Caribbean country made their unlikely yet charming debut in bobsled at the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary. He started in sports as a boxer, being naturally muscular and fast-reacting as a youngster. After a brief stint in the ring, it became apparent to Brown that he couldn’t quite keep up with the brutalizing punches thrown by some of his opponents.
Not the type to be dissuaded, Brown turned his athletic sights to bobsled in 1999. He was 27 at the time, an age past when most Olympians have transitioned to spectators.
Thanks to his explosive speed and power, Brown excelled as a brakeman, the rear position of a bobsled team responsible for running and pushing the sled to its start down course.
Brown got his first taste of the Olympics in 2002 while representing his native Jamaica. During the Games, he set a track record for a brakeman, but his team finished 28th overall in the two-man event. Nonetheless, the medal podium wouldn’t elude Brown for long.
By 2004, Brown was married to a Canadian woman named Kara, and was a proud father. Despite global enthusiasm and support for the Jamaican bobsled program, funding was scarce and the team failed to compete for two years. In the interim, Brown trained alongside Canadian bobsledders in Calgary. It only made sense to permanently relocate to Canada and don the red and white competitively.
Brown was awarded Canadian citizenship just two weeks before the 2006 Olympic Games. He was already in Europe training and couldn’t risk the work stoppage and jet leg of flying home to Canada to receive citizenship. In a special exemption, Brown officially became a Canadian citizen at the embassy in Germany. He holds the distinction as the only person to receive citizenship under such circumstances.
Team Canada fared well on the track in Turin, and Brown netted his first Olympic medal to complement his newly minted citizenship.
He repeated a trip to the podium on home country turf at the 2010 Games in Vancouver reaching bronze alongside teammates Lyndon Roush, David Bissett, and Chris le Bihan.
Brown took a detour to represent Monaco internationally from 2010 to 2012, but returned to Team Canada in time for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, a city that has enjoyed a renaissance in tourism and entertainment since its Olympic facelift.
The Canadian team finished ninth in both the two-man and four-man events at the 2014 Games, but a return to medal form is planned for the 2018 Games in PyeongChang.
While it remains to be seen whether Brown will be competing in his familiar position rear sled or cheering from somewhere off track, rest assured that his heart will belong to Canada.