Lyndon Rush, pilot of Canada 1 bobsleigh team. Photo provided by Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton.
Six former University of Saskatchewan students are trading in Huskies green for maple leaf red as they head to Sochi, Russia representing Canada at the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games.
One of those individuals is bobsledder Lyndon Rush (BA'04).
During his time at the U of S, the Humboldt, Sask. native was a conference all-star defensive end for the U of S Huskies football team. He was initially recruited by Bobsleigh Canada as a potential brakeman. A hamstring injury led to training as a driver instead.
Rush emerged as the new leader of the Canadian men's bobsleigh program in 2009-10 season after winning World Cup gold medals in both the two- and four-man events. He won an Olympic bronze medal in the four-man event at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Rush and teammate Jesse Lumsden won the overall World Cup two-man title in 2012-13.
UofS: Describe your first day on campus.
LR: I grew up as a Huskies fan, and I went to the U of S because of football. So I came to campus before school started, for training camp, and I remember I was sort of in awe to be part of the team. It was a real honour, and training camp was a great atmosphere.
UofS: What is your favourite or most memorable moment at the U of S?
LR: Going to the Vanier Cup in 2002. We went on a real run in the playoffs that year. In that game there was a punt blocked, and I recovered it and ran it back about 55 yards. It was the only time I got the ball in my entire career.
UofS: Did you have a favourite hangout as a student?
LR: Marquis Hall. The volume of food was very good, but I'm not so sure about the quality.
UofS: What was the best place to get food on campus?
LR: Marquis Hall.
UofS: Did you have a favourite place on campus to unwind?
LR: In the campus club rooms in the basement of the student union building for Bible study with Campus Crusade for Christ.
UofS: Do you have any pre-competition rituals or superstitions?
LR: I always say a prayer before every race with my teammates. I lead the guys in a prayer, and whether that part of their life is important to them or not, it helps us all calm down, take a look at the bigger picture and puts you in a good state of mind to perform well.
UofS: What is your most memorable moment in sport?
LR: My rookie season with the Huskies in 1999. I didn't get a lot of playing time as a rookie, and we were the underdogs playing UBC in BC for the Hardy Cup. We beat them that game, and that is my most memorable victory. That was a transition phase for me, from being a fan to part of the team; it was such an emotional victory.
UofS: What are you most looking forward to in Sochi?
LR: Hitting the ice. I love racing bobsled. I love the competition. That's why we're all going, and that's what I'm looking forward to.
UofS: Do you have any advice for U of S students today?
LR: I'm a big fan of the U of S and the province of Saskatchewan. It produces a lot of special people and has a special community feel to it. So be proud of that community.
UofS: Do you have any advice for aspiring young athletes?
LR: Have fun. Sport needs to be fun; that's why we do it. Don't lose sight of that.
Follow Lyndon Rush on Twitter: @goldrush781
Read more about former U of S students heading to Sochi:
Graeme Rinholm, BSc'10, men's bobsleigh
Ben Coakwell, men's bobsleigh
Colette Bourgonje, BSPE'84, BEd'85, women's para-nordic cross-country skiing
Kurt Oatway, BSc'10, men's para-alpine skiing
Brad Meier, BSPE'91, BEd'92, referee, men's hockey