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Professional and Olympic Athletes: Bobsled

Steve Hall

Was a CFL wide-receiver turned Canadian National Team bobsledder. Steve and Sam Bock were team mates, training partners, and co-founders of Paragon. Together they helped develop many of the top athletes to compete for Canada’s national bobsleigh program.  

Steve was one of the most focused, hardest working athletes in sport. Also highly analytical, a natural coach, and self starter, he only started playing serious football as a sophomore in college. A few years later he was playing in the pros. In 1987 he made Canada’s national bobsleigh team. In 1990 Steve took on another new challenge and became a driver. In 1992 he and Jeff Ingram set a world track record on the Calgary Olympic track in a bobsled designed by Bock and built by Bock and Hall with the help of Dave Meyer at Aero-Tech in Calgary, Paragon’s fabrication shop. It is still the only Canadian designed sled to achieve that feat.  

Steve’s many personal accomplishments in sport have been recently upstaged by his son Taylor Hall, the NHL 2010 #1 draft pick. Taylor owes his prowess to his parent’s willingness to sacrifice and to Steve’s constant provision of the best coaching, speed training, and periodization from the time that he was a young boy and first showed a genuine interest in sports. In addition to his own backyard rink, Steve provided Taylor with the same advanced athletic training and disciplined mental preparation that allowed many records to be set by Canadian bobsled athletes.  

Career Highlights: CFL wide Receiver with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, member of Canadian National Bobsled team, 2 Man World Track record on Calgary Olympic bobsleigh track. Coached son Taylor to 2010 NHL #1 draft pick.

Dave MacEachern 

Was Paragon’s most successful bobsled athlete. At 235 lbs he was one of the fastest big men in the world. He and team-mate Jack Pyc dominated bobsled pushing for several seasons and were considered # 1 & 2 in the world. Together they helped prove that speed was the most important element in Bobsled pushing.  

Coached by Sam Bock, they led a group of athletes that first tested Paragon’s training programs, speed training apparel and targeted nutrition. During the 1993-94 season the team set 18 straight world push records — one in every race of the long 5 month season, including both the 2 and 4 man events at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics. MacEachern is still the only 2- man brakeman in Olympic history to push faster than every other nation’s four-man Team. The following season Dave and Jack took Pierre Lueder’s team and the Canadian program to new heights, becoming the first team in World Cup history to win all three overall titles – two-man, four-man and combined – in a single season. The next season Dave won Silver at the 1996 World Championships with Pierre. He capped off his career with the 2-man Gold Medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics with Pierre. Dave and Lueders partnered to win approximately 20 World Cup medals for Canada from 1993 to 1998.

Dave now runs Elisport and continues to help many top athletes reach the top of their game, including Brad Richards, NHL 2003-04 Playoff MVP and Stanley Cup Champion with the Tampa Bay Lightning, other NHL players Grant Marshall, Adam McQuaid, Nathan McIver, and LPGA Professional Lorie Kane. Dave also shared his training knowledge with Andy O’Brien, who coached Sydney Crosby.

Career Highlights: 1998 2-man Olympic Gold, 1996 2-man WC Silver, 1994 Bobsled Push WR & OR holder, 4th 1992 4-man Albertville, Multiple World Cup Winner, 3-time Olympian.  

Jack Pyc

Won Canada’s 1st World Cup 2-man Gold medal with Pierre Lueders, stunning Olympic champion and legend Gustav Weder of Switzerland and the rest of the field by coming from the 3rd seed to win with the fastest start, which tied the word push record for Calgary’s track.

Jack won 19 world Cup medals for Canada with Pierre Lueders, Chris Lori, and Dennis Marineau.

Jack and team-mate Pascal Carron ran the fastest known electronic 20m times, a full 10th of second faster than Donovan Bailey (50m world record holder) and 2/10ths faster than Ato Bolden when they were tested by Bock for the adidas sprint shoe project.

Jack and team-mate Dave MacEachern dominated bobsled pushing and were considered # 1 & 2 in the world for many seasons. Coached by Sam Bock, they led a group of athletes that first tested Paragon’s training programs, speed training apparel and targeted nutrition. During the 1993-94 season the team set 18 straight world push records — one in every race of the long 5 month season, including both the 2 and 4 man events at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics. The following season Dave and Jack took Pierre Lueder’s team and the Canadian program to new heights, becoming the first team in World Cup history to win all three overall titles – two-man, four-man and combined – in a single season. Jack capped off that season winning Silver at the 1995 2-man World Championships with Pierre.

Career Highlights: Canada’s 1st ever 2-man World Cup Gold medal, Canada’s first ever world push record, 1994 Bobsled Push WR & OR holder, 1995 WC Silver medallist, Multiple World Cup winner, 3-time Olympian.   

Pascal Caron

In August 2001, used Paragon’s new weighted shoe inserts,  MSR training program, coaching, and targeted nutrition to break Donovan Bailey’s 8 year old National Bobsled Team sprint records set in 1993. Pascal was more than 2 meters ahead of any other athlete after only 30 meters of top speed testing.

Pascal bench pressed 425 lbs., deep squatted over 500 lbs. to the floor, and then smashed the world push record at Calgary’s indoor training center, pushing an unprecedented 11ths of a second faster than any other individual competing that day. At only 178 lbs. the time he pushed was as fast as many nation’s 4-man teams.  

Pascal and team-mate Jack Pyc also ran the fastest known electronic 20m times ever measured, a full 10th of second faster than Donovan Bailey (50m world record holder) and 2/10ths faster than Ato Bolden when they were tested by Bock for the adidas sprint shoe project.

Career Highlights: 1994 Bobsled Push WR & OR holder, Multiple World Cup winner, 2 time Canadian Olympian. 

Ken Leblanc

Was also one of the world’s top bobsled athetes, a 4 time Olympian, and Canadian world junior team 4 x100m member. Canada's modern movement in bobsleigh began in 1989-90 season when Ken and the rest of Chris Lori's four-man crew won the overall World Cup title — a first for Canada. Ken won Canada’s first ever World Cup medal with Chris Lori, John Graham and Doug Currier in 4-man in the season ending World cup in March 1990. Ken finished 4th in four-man in Albertville in 1992 with Chris, Cal Langford and Dave MacEachern, missing the Bronze by just 11/100ths. 10 years later Ken won Bronze in the 1999 4-man World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo with Pierre Lueders.

For many years Ken was prone to hamstring injury, and was notorious for winning a World Cup and suffering an injury 2 weeks later. Then In July 1999 he began Paragon’s MSR running training at 230+ pounds despite having plantar fasciitis. He trained with 150-200m tempo runs in flats only, and used no spikes as they hurt his foot. 6 weeks later Ken PB’d for 30m without doing any speed training. That 1999-2000 season for the first time in his career he won more than two World Cup medals in a season, winning 5 medals in his first five races, including 2 Golds.

Career Highlights:  Canada’s first ever World Cup medal with Chris Lori in 4-man in 1990, Multiple Bobsled World Cup winner, 4-time Canadian Olympian, 4th 1992 4-man Albertville, 1999 4-man WC Bronze medalist. 

Chris Farstad

Was recruited on Kevin Tyler’s advice and initially trained on technique by Paragon. A power-lifter who had never sprinted, both his ability to learn technique and his disciplined approach quickly allowed him to develop into a good sprinter and a great sled pusher who represented Canada in two Olympics. He finished 9th in 2-man in 1992 in Albertville behind Dennis Marineau, and 11th in 4-man in Lillihammer in 1994 with Chris Lori.  

Guy Scheffer

Used Paragon’s training programs, speed training apparel and targeted nutrition to improve his speed and power. This helped him to win bronze with Chris Lori at the 1993 4-man Cortina World Cup and make Canada’s 1994 Olympic Bobsled team. 

Mohamed Elsaghir

Trained with Paragon over a number of years while in university. A wide receiver with the University of Calgary Dinos football team, Mo had natural speed, competed for Canada in bobsled, and then went on to play wide receiver in the CFL with the Edmonton Eskimos.

Sheridon Baptiste

Wore Paragon speed training apparel while competing for the Canadian National Bobsleigh team. He was a 3-time Olympian with a best finish of 11th with Chris Lori’s 4-man team in Lillehammer.

Tom Samuel

Used his natural driving ability and Paragon’s MSR training programs, speed training apparel and targeted nutrition to silence all the critics, develop his speed and power, and win 2 Canadian 2-man Bobsleigh Championships.  

A neighbour of Sam Bock and Steve Hall when they were roommates, Tom became interested in the sport. However at the time he was skinny and out of shape. He literally got up off the couch one day and decided to start training. Five years later he won his first Canadian 2-man title. Two years after that he won a second 2-man title, beating Olympic champion Pierre Leuders in the process. 

Tom’s finished 16th in the 1999-2000 Word Cup 2 —man standings with 12th place World Cup finishes in both St Moritz and La Plagne Albertville.

Steve Wiseman

Often trained with Paragon while competing for the Canadian Bobsled Team. Steve later helped test Paragon’s MSR training equipment, turning in remarkable workouts and performances on the running track during a comeback to bobsledding. His detailed feedback helped fine tune the optimum way to train with this revolutionary training equipment. He also squatted 749lbs using Paragon’s targeted nutrition program. Unfortunately a knee injury suffered while jumping over a high fence ended his remarkable comeback. 

Career Highlights: 9th in 4-man 1997 World Championships and 10th in 4-man Nagano World Cup with Pierrre Lueders, Jack Pyc, and David MacEachern.  

The Jamaican Bobsled Team

Used Sam Bock & Paragon’s coaching, training programs, speed training apparel and targeted nutrition to come from nowhere and upset many of the worlds top bobsledding nations at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics. 

Dudley and Chris Stokes 

Dudley was a Jamaican military helicopter pilot who became the most successful bobsled driver to compete for Jamaica. He and his brother Chris Stokes, a sprinter, were the unrelenting & driving force behind the development of the Jamaican Bobsled Team since its inception in 1988.   

The Olympic effort gained a tremendous boost with the addition of Wayne Thomas and Winston Watt to the team. Watt was a natural athlete and Jamaican Army shot put champion, Thomas had 10.5 100m speed at 235 pounds, and 6’3” Chris Stokes had run 10.18 at the University of Idaho. The key was to figure out how to get them all effectively training and working together.  

The Jamaican Bobsled Team website states, “The single most important decision made during this period was the retention of Sam Bock as national coach. Time was short; the Olympics were weeks away and much work had to be done. Bock’s focused; no-nonsense, intransigent style fit the times well.”  

Sam had just 7 weeks to attempt to take the team to the next level at the upcoming Olympics. The Team used every resource he & Paragon could provide, including coaching, bio-mechanical analysis, training programs, apparel systems, and nutrition chemistry programs to maximize their development in such a short period. Bock also rented several sets of the most competitive steel runners for the sleds, and hired friend Stu Thorpe to help him coach Dudley with his driving.  The team trained 4-8 hours per day, at one point for 2 weeks in total isolation in the former East Germany at a special push training facility.  

Sam taught Dudley new methods for analyzing & driving the sled that quickly paid of with times that were 1.5 seconds quicker in a sport where 1/100ths of second make a difference. In a tune up race for the Olympics, Dudley drove the team to a very respectable finish at the 1994 European Championships on the challenging Albertville Olympic track.

Sam also reengineered the 4-man sled’s pushbars, and at Lillehammer 4 weeks later, the Jamaican team surprised everyone with its recently developed world class start and fast driving. The team pushed the sled as fast as the Olympic gold medallists from Germany, and Dudley drove the highly technical track very well. On the second day of that race, and final day of the Olympics, they shocked everyone by placing 10th in both runs — ahead of the 2-man bronze medallist Huber of Italy, former Swiss national champion Christian Meili, and a slew of other powerful teams. Jamaica finished in 14th place, cracking the ‘Top Fifteen’ 1st seed teams, beating the Americans, French, Russians and one of the Italian teams, all future and past Olympic medal winning teams. Their Lillehammer performance was one of the biggest upsets in Bobsleigh and Winter Olympic history.  

The following season Jamaica claimed its first medal at the World Bobsled Push Championships in Monaco, winning a bronze medal in the 4-man competition. Paragon continued to develop Jamaica’s bob team for the next 3 years.  

Wayne Thomas 

Won the right to push Jamaica’s two-man sled in Lillehammer. While it was very close between Wayne, Winston Watt and Chris Stokes, Wayne’s tremendous top speed at 235lbs earned him the job. 

Winston Watt 

Ultimately became one of the most powerful crewman in the world, bench pressing 480lbs at just 210lbs. As a bobsled driver, Watt went on to win 2-man gold and 4-man silver at the 2000 World Push Championships. In 2001, he repeated in 2-man and placed 4th in 4-man. In December 2001, he won Jamaica’s first International bobsled race in Lake Placid. Watt had the fastest 2-man bobsled push at the Salt Lake Winter Olympics. Paragon-developed athletes were the fastest pushers for 3 Olympics in a row from 1994 — 2002.

Career Highlights:  2002 Bobsled Push World & Olympic Record holder, 3-time Jamaican Olympian. Only Jamaican to ever win an international bobsled race, member of the 1994 Lillehammer Jamaican Team that upset the United States, Russia, France and one Italian team at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.

Gustav Weder

His Swiss bobsled team used Paragon speed training apparel for warmup and training. 

Career Highlights:  Weder was the most dominant bobsled driver of his era. Competing in three Winter Olympics, he won four medals with two Gold (Two-man: 1992, 1994), one Silver (Four-man: 1994), and one Bronze (Four-man: 1992). Weder also won eight World Championships medals with four Golds (Two-man: 1990, Four-man: 1989, 1990, 1993) and four Silvers (Two-man: 1989, 1991, 1993; Four-man: 1991). He was World Cup champion four times (Combined men's: 1988-9, 1990-1; Two-man: 1988-9, Four-man: 1990-1).

Known for his intensity, Weder would videotape every one of his bobsleigh runs he raced on and study those videos for hours. 

Gunther Huber

His Italian bobsled team used Paragon speed training apparel for warmup and training. 

Career Highlights:  Huber competed in four Winter Olympics and won two medals in the two-man event with one Gold (1998, shared with Leuders and MacEachern) and one Bronze (1994). His team won two World Championship medals in the two-man event with gold in 1999 and silver in 1997. His team won the Bobsleigh World Cup championship three times (Two-man: 1991-2, 1992-3; Combined men's: 1996-7). Huber became a coach of the Italian national team in 2008.

Brian Shimer 

His American bobsled team used Paragon’s bobsled push coaching, shop facilities, and speed training apparel for warmup and training. 

Career Highlights:  Brian Shimer competed in five Winter Olympics, winning the bronze medal in the four-man event at Salt Lake City in 2002. Shimer also won three World Championships bronze medals, one in the two-man event (1997) and two in the four-man event (1993, 1997). He won the 1992-3 World Cup championships both in the four-man and the combined men's events. Shimer was head coach of the US men's bobsleigh team that won 4-man Gold in 2010.

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