The 2014 Olympics in Sochi will be bittersweet for New Glasgow’s Luke Demetre.
The sweet part is being on the Canadian bobsled team heading to the Games as an alternate. That was made official earlier this week.
The bitter part is he’s not destined to compete unless one of his teammates gets injured. He won’t have the same Olympic accreditation as his teammates and won’t be able to join them in the Olympic village.
“I am excited to get to see the Games and cheer on my teammates; it is a great honour to be selected to go as a spare,” Demetre said in an e-mail exchange from Konigssee, Germany, where the team is in its final preparations for Sochi.
“I can’t say that I am not disappointed that I am not on a racing team, but I get to see the Games up close and personal, so the next time I go I will know what it is like and I will know what to expect, and be ready to light it up.”
Canada will have a trio of four-man bobsled teams in Olympic competition.
Lyndon Rush, Chris Spring and Justin Kripps are the three pilots.
Demetre, the youngest athlete in the program at 23, has been pushing for a spot on one of the teams as a brakeman. He has spent most of his time with Kripps.
Rush guided Canada to a bronze medal in Vancouver in 2010.
Demetre, a former Dalhousie student, has been part of the national team program for four years.
Once a sprinter in track and field, he was discovered in 2010 running at Huskies Stadium by former football player Alex Torbert, who was then competing in bobsled. Torbert invited Demetre to try the sport.
Since then, Demetre has relocated to Calgary to participate in the national bobsled program.
“My job in Sochi will be to help out the team anyway I can,” he said.
“I might be doing training runs and helping with day-to-day activities. But my main focus will to be prepare if someone goes down to step in and race. I have to be prepared to slide at a moment’s notice.”
He said he’s not discouraged by the developments and has his eye as a full participant in the 2018 Olympics.
“My situation on the team will not change at all in the next coming weeks,” he said. “I will travel with the team, as I have all season, and continue to be the best possible teammate I can be.
“After the Games, there could be other opportunities with the team going forward, but I think my career in bobsleigh is looking bright.”
The bobsled competition in Russia will be held at the Sliding Centre Sanki in Krasnaya Polyana. It is 60 kilometres from Sochi.
The four-man events in the Olympics are Feb. 22-23.
By Monty Mosher for the Chronicle Herald