Training camp is in session for Canada’s bobsleigh and skeleton athletes and an accomplished team of coaches are officially in place to lead the program’s mission for medals on the track to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.
Olympic silver medal-winning bobsleigh pilot from the United States, Todd Hays, will return as head coach of the Canadian bobsleigh program. A former Canadian skeleton team athlete, Charles Wlodarczak, will take over the reins of the skeleton program. Both coaches will be supported by some of Canada’s top minds in the sliding sports.
“Our goal is to create a program that brings greater stability and synergies in coaching philosophy and sport science approaches and will provide a stronger platform to breed and develop medal-winning performances from our current and next generation of high-performance athletes in Canada,” said Chris Le Bihan, high-performance director, Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton.
“This team of coaches who have been selected to guide the program over the next four years are proven performers both on and off the field of play. They have developed through our high-performance systems both in Canada and other nations, they know what it takes to perform under the most intense pressure and they are respected internationally. Canada’s bobsleigh and skeleton athletes are in good hands.”
Todd Hays, who guided Canada to a gold and bronze medal in men’s and women’s bobsleigh at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, will have an experienced team of coaches at his side. Canada’s 2010 Olympic bronze medal-winning pilot, Lyndon Rush, will also rejoin Hays for the next four years. Rush and former National Team athlete, Tom Samuel, will share responsibilities as technical driving coach. Samuel will focus the bulk of his time working with the NextGen athletes. Graham Richardson, who has worked internationally and with the Canucks over the last six years, will serve a dual role as team manager on the World Cup and technical driving coach.
Jamie McCartney will be the national bobsleigh program’s physical performance lead and technical push coach. A former CFL player and coach at the CSI Calgary, McCartney was recently the head strength and conditioning coach, and the Integrated Support Team lead for the United States Paralympic Ski Team. He will be tasked with the planning and execution of the technical push program, in addition to monitoring and evaluating data related to physical performance.
Olympian, Morgan Alexander, will move into the role of high-performance manager for the bobsleigh program.
Charles Wlodarczak returns to Canada after having played a key role in leading the Korean Skeleton Team to their first Olympic podium in PyeongChang 2018. Wlodarczak was general manager and coach for Korea over the last four years.
Two Canadian Olympians will make a return to the track to help Wlodarczak with skeleton coaching responsibilities. Sarah Reid, who finished fourth at the 2014 Olympics, will make her coaching debut with 2010 Olympian Mike Douglas.
A winner of multiple medals on the World Cup circuit, Reid was a bronze medallist at the 2013 World Championships. Douglas represented Canada at the 2010 Games at home. A Calgary-based X-ray technician, Douglas had a handful of top-10 finishes throughout his World Cup career. He was sitting in fourth place heading into the final run at the 2010 Games before a controversial disqualification.
“We are committed to creating a culture of excellence at Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton built on trust and respect,” said Le Bihan. “Strong leadership is key to helping us achieve that goal, and I know this team of respected individuals will continue to build on the successful foundation we have in these spots by leading Canada to more medal-winning performances on the international stage.”
Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton hosted 30 new recruits to the bobsleigh programs from across the country for a prospect camp, September 22-30, in Calgary. Those athletes were included in some parts of the National Bobsleigh Testing Camp, October 1-5, at Winsport’s Canada Olympic Park. 22 new skeleton recruits will partake in learn to slide camps in November and January this season building up the pool of NextGen skeleton athletes looking to land on the podium in 2016. The first part of the fall selection process, more than 50 athletes will vie for coveted spots on the National Teams while participating in a series of dryland, push testing and on-ice sliding sessions.