A Nova Scotia bobsledder, who went to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi as an alternate, didn’t expect to compete but was welcomed home to New Glasgow on Thursday as a hero in his local community.
After crashing during their second run on Feb. 22, the Canada 3 Olympic bobsleigh team was out of medal contention.
Cody Sorensen and Ben Coakwell were injured during the crash. But New Glasgow’s Luke Demetre, 23, and alternate Graeme Rinholm were called in to complete the final run.
“I was actually told by the other spare, ‘Guess what Luke, we're going to race today,’” said Demetre.
The team — reassembled and refocused — pulled off a clean, smooth run. A run that didn't have to happen since the team was out of medal contention. But the pilot, Justin Kripps, decided to take another run to give Demetre and Graeme their Olympic moment.
Since he was a boy, Demetre said it was his dream to compete in the Olympics.
“It's a 12 out of 10. You can't beat it. It’s a childhood dream come true,” he said.
Demetre’s parents, Stephen and Anna, are proud of their son.
“I thank the Lord he had the chance to compete. Like I said, he put a lot into it. In my heart, I was very glad for him,” said Stephen.
“He was always like, ‘I want to go to the Olympics.' Even as little guy. He really did it,” said Anna.
For a Nova Scotian, competing in bobsleigh is somewhat unlikely — considering there are no tracks east of Calgary.
Demetre, who was a track star, was scouted and began his training with a homemade sled that he built with his dad at a local muffler shop.
“It's an inspiration for youth that their dreams can come true,” said New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan.
A few hundred people gathered at the Pictou County Wellness Centre Thursday evening to welcome Demetre back home.
He now has his sights set on the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.