An instructor at Lethbridge College will soon have the whole world watching when he travels to PyeongChang, South Korea, to help coach the Korean bobsleigh team at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Florian Linder has been teaching at the college for the past year. When he heads to Korea, however, it will be as a technical starts coach who has been working with the athletes in performance analysis.
Linder was part of the coaching staff for Canada during the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, and with the Russian team during the Sochi Olympics in 2014. He has built an Olympic career working with host nations — something obviously not lost on the Korean team as they prepared for PyeongChang in 2018.
“I do have quite a bit of experience working with the host nations,” he said. “And both those nations were very successful in their Olympics. I think the Korean committee potentially saw the benefit we had as a team.”
PyeongChang will see Linders reunited with Pierre Lueders, one of Canada’s most decorated sliders. The pair worked together in Russia in Sochi. That team earned two gold medals.
“We just have a very good working relationship and have had success,” Linder said. “I think (the Korean team) saw that, and asked us on board.”
Lueders has another local connection as Ben and Matt Hindle of Lethbridge were part of his four-man team that won bronze at the 1999 world championships.
Prior to his coaching career, Linder ran track at the University of Lethbridge. After graduating, he moved to Calgary with the goal of making a national team. He was then recruited out of track to be a bobsleigh athlete.
Raymond man facing sex charges
A 49-year-old Raymond man is facing sex-related charges relating to incidents alleged to have occurred as long as 30 years ago.
On Jan. 16, Picture Butte RCMP charged Marvin “Ross” Harker with sexual interference following an investigation into allegations of sexual assaults in the 1980s and 1990s involving women. In September 2016, RCMP were contacted by a woman who said she had been sexually abused as a child by a man known to her.
The Picture Butte RCMP began an investigation into the allegations and three additional women came forward to report they had been similarily assaulted.
Following his arrest, Harker was released on a recognizance with conditions prohibiting him from contacting persons under 18. The accused is scheduled to appear in Lethbridge provincial court Feb. 7.
“While our investigation is now concluded, it is possible that other victims are out there,” RCMP Sergeant Tom Howell, said in a news release.
“Anyone who has information about this investigation or other incidents should contact their local law enforcement agency.”
Harker is also an employee at Lethbridge College, The Herald has confirmed.
Stabilization funds needed
Lethbridge can afford neither a performing arts centre nor a trade and convention centre — if the provincial government cancels its stabilization grants to cities and towns.
That was the blunt warning from Mayor Chris Spearman, during his annual “State of the City” address to the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce.
The city and county also need funds to upgrade Lethbridge Airport, he said, or we run the risk of losing Air Canada flights as well as the new service planned by WestJet.
With Provincial Treasurer Joe Ceci scheduled to visit Lethbridge early next month, the mayor called for a strong message from business and civic leaders as Ceci prepares the next provincial budget.
“We need to turn the Lethbridge Airport into an asset, not a liability,” Spearman said.
Both Medicine Hat and Red Deer have received grants to upgrade their facilities, he pointed out.
The WestJet announcement came as “incredibly positive news,” the mayor said, but the airport’s present facilities are inadequate and must be upgraded.