Lumsden named Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton's high-performance director

CALGARY — Two-time world championship silver medallist and three-time Olympian Jesse Lumsden has been named Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton's high-performance director.

Canada's governing body for bobsled and skeleton announced the move in a release Wednesday.

He replaces Chris Le Bihan, who parted ways with the organization in February.

“I’m very excited to rejoin Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton from a leadership perspective," the 41-year-old Lumsden, who has spent the past four and a half years in the business world with Neo Financial, said in a release.

"I always knew I’d find my way back to sport, but it was important for me to step away to develop different skills and work with other like-minded, high-performing people.

“There is a lot that can be taken from that high performance corporate environment and injected into a national sport organization," he added.

BCS says Lumsden will be responsible for overseeing all technical aspects of Canada’s skeleton and bobsled national programs and will work closely with a coaching and support staff.

He officially takes over the role on Monday.

Lumsden helped Canada win silver in two-man bobsled at the 2012 and 2017 world championships.

He represented Canada in both the two- and four-man competitions at three Olympic Games (2010, 2014, 2018) and teamed with Lyndon Rush to win the 2012-13 World Cup overall two-man title.

Before focusing on bobsled, Lumsden was a standout running back in the CFL. He spent six seasons with Hamilton, Edmonton and Calgary before retiring in 2011.

“Bobsleigh extended my athletic career much longer than I thought possible," Lumsden said. "It’s a unique sport that affords athletes a unique opportunity.

"Perhaps their sport was cut short for some reason, or maybe they dream of representing Canada in more than one sport internationally like Phlyicia George, Georgia Simmerling or Clara Hughes to name a few."

Lumsden's appointment is the latest major organizational change at BCS. Calgary businessman Kien Tran was named chief executive officer in May, with Tara McNeil taking over as president last year. BSC also elected a new slate to its board of directors at the start of the year.

The shakeup started in March 2023, after former president and acting CEO Sarah Storey announced last year she would not seek a third term amid calls for her resignation.

More than 70 athletes demanded the resignation of Storey and Le Bihan amid what they called a toxic environment of maltreatment within the organization.

With new leadership at the top of the organization, BCS will focus on improving its results.

Canada had a mixed sliding season in 2023-24. Canadian bobsledders were held to just one bronze medal on the 2023-24 World Cup circuit and did not reach the podium at the 2024 world championships.

But there was more success in skeleton under new coaches Joe Cecchini, Kevin Boyer and Micaela Widmer. Hallie Clarke became the youngest-ever female world champion at 19 and veteran Mirela Rahneva won a World Cup event.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 26, 2024.

The Canadian Press