The Winter Olympics in Vancouver/Whistler has a touch of Seahawks’ blue – to go with the Canadian red and white.
Jesse Lumsden is the brakeman on the two-man bobsled piloted by veteran driver and multiple Olympic medal-winner Pierre Lueders.
Don’t remember Lumsden? Don’t worry. The record-setting running back from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, was only around for the proverbial cup of coffee in 2005. But he arrived for a minicamp in April with enough media in tow to fill the Mad Hatter’s tea-party table: Representatives from five north-of-the-border TV networks or stations and reporters from the Vancouver Sun and Hamilton Spectator.
The entourage was on hand to chronicle the first step of Lumsden’s quest to find a Northwest passage into the NFL. He was, after all, the winner of the Hec Crighton Trophy (his country’s equivalent of the Heisman) after setting records for rushing yards (1,186) and touchdowns (21) his senior season. He also has good genes. His father, Neil, was a CFL teammate on the Edmonton Eskimos with Hall of Fame QB Warren Moon, analyst for radio broadcasts of Seahawks games.
But other than that glut of media attention, Lumsden did little to get himself noticed with the Seahawks and went on to play in the CFL.
Lumsden admitted at the time that being the center of attention was a distraction, and even a bit embarrassing for a rookie.
“A little bit,” he said. “I’ve still got to learn another 15 pages of the playbook before 3 p.m. (the afternoon practice). This is a little awkward. I just want to play football. I’m sure there are more important people you can talk to.”
While Lumsden never played for the Seahawks, he did play football for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Eskimos. But he also has had shoulder problems, and is left one needed surgery for the third time this summer after he dislocated it in the Eskimos’ opener.
That allowed Lumsden to make his run at the Olympics earlier, and he earned a spot on the Canadian team.
“For everything that’s happen over the last three years of my life, to have this opportunity to represent my country is the greatest feeling I’ve had in sports,” Lumsden told Canadian Press.
Lumsden not only has size (6-2, 226), but speed (he ran 40 yards in 4.46 seconds coming out of college). That’s what attracted Lueders, a five-time Olympian who won the gold medal in the two-man event at the 1998 Winter Games and the silver in Italy four years ago.
The gold-medal final in the Vancouver Games is set for Feb. 21.