10 questions with Lascelles Brown, the Jamaican who won a silver medal with the Canadian team

This month we do 10 questions with Lascelles Brown, a former member of the original Jamaican Bobsleigh Team, and who recently competed at the Turin Olympic Games for Canada. He won a silver medal with the Canadian team.

Were you surprised that the Canadian team called you?

A: I was not surprised that the Canadian Team called me, because I had been training with them in their facilities for 2 years waiting on the Jamaican Team to show up in Canada for training.

How does it feel to be an Olympic medalist?

A: It feels great to be an Olympic Medalist. It’s really nice, for a change, to have a federation that gives the athletes an opportunity to achieve a medal. If I was still on the Jamaican Team, this would not be possible.

Explain the feeling when they put the medal over your head on the podium?

A: It felt like a dream come true. It’s crazy that 6 years ago, I saw ice for the first time in Salt Lake City, and now I have a Silver Medal. The first Jamaican to win a medal at an Olympic Winter Games. It’s surreal.

Is it a bitter-sweet experience being that you did not represent Jamaica?

A: It would have been nice to win a medal for Jamaica – however, Bobsleigh
Canada Skeleton supports its athletes, something the Jamaican Bobsleigh
Federation does not. I am Jamaican, but I am also Canadian.

Many fans of the Jamaican bobsled team around the world were disappointed we did not have a team. Many people believe the notoriety of the team should make it easy for the team to raise funds and recruit. Are you surprised that there is no professional marketing done for what is perhaps Jamaica’s third biggest “brand” next to reggae and Bob Marley?

A: There is professional marketing. The Jamaican Bobsleigh Team has many sponsors, many of whom I’ve met or met with in my many years with the team. What is being done with the money received is a totally different story. I’m not really surprised that there wasn’t a team at the Olympics because no money is being invested by the Federation into the Athletes or the Equipment. You can’t compete in Bobsleigh without a sled.

What do you think happened? Should a professional marketing team be hired to raise fund and awareness of the team?

A: It wouldn’t make a difference. They all ready have sponsors. You need to have somebody in charge of the Federation that believes in the team, and puts the money towards the team, instead of in their own pocket.

In your opinion what do we need to do to assure that Jamaica has a team every Winter Olympics?

A: In my opinion you need to have better people in charge of the
Federation. People who believe in the sport and its athletes.

I read the letter you send to the Gleaner a few months ago. You sound very passionate about this issue. What do you intend to do to make this happen? What have you learned from the Canadian team that could be used by the Jamaican federation to raise funds? If you were president of the federation what you would do right now?

A: There is not too much I can do about this issue. No one in Jamaica
seems to care about the Bobsleigh Team. No one returns phone calls or
emails. I don’t have nearly enough money or time to do things on my own.
If I was the President of the Federation, I would start by getting the
Government involved. I would make sure that we had equipment, and that the
athletes had some money to be able to train and still pay their bills. I
would make us a TEAM instead of a Business.

Have you contacted the federation and made suggestions? How about the Prime Minster Portia Simpson being that she still has the sports portfolio?

A: I have nothing to say to the Federation after everything they have
done. They didn’t believe in me, I spent my own money to train because they
were always ‘broke’. I read a quote in several newspapers in Canada and the
States saying that the federation spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on
me, but didn’t they just tell the World that they had no money?
As far as the Prime Minister Portia Simpson goes, I have tried several times
to get in contact with her, but she is very busy, and impossible to get
a hold of.

Would you consider competing for Jamaica again?

A: No. I don’t want to compete for a federation that does not believe in
dreams or believe in their athletes.

What do you do when you are not competing?

A: When I am not competing I am training. I train 6 days a week, 4-5
hours a day. In my spare time, I hang out with my family.

I am known to ask at least one “weird” question each interview. Image you were given a magic wand that could fix things. Name one thing that you are passionate about that you would fix?

A: I would fix the world, and make it a better place. I would make the World less violent, starting with Jamaica.

About the author

Xavier Murphy