September 13, 2004 by

Lex Peterson


Categories: Sports

Lex Peterson, a member of the first New Zealand bobsled team to compete in the Winter Olympics, died on Aug. 31 of cancer. He was 46.
Peterson loved speed and he dug the adrenaline rush bobsledding gave him. To make it to the Olympics, he and he teammates sold sweatshirts before and during the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary. On the final day of competition, he held up a sign for the TV cameras that read: “Happy birthday, Dad. Send money.”
Owen Pinnell, Rhys Dacre, Peter Henry, Bruce Sandford, Blair Telford and Peterson represented New Zealand at the Olympics that year. Peterson was the pilot on the No. 1 two-man sled; he and Henry finished 20th. They didn’t win a medal, but still took home the “Caribbean Cup,” an award given to the best team hailing from a small, warm country not normally recognized for the sport. Peterson drove the sled in the four-man event as well. His team finished 21st — ahead of the popular Jamaican team that inspired the film “Cool Runnings.”
Peterson ran his own contracting business in Calgary for several years before moving to Vancouver. He also founded and served as the president of the New Zealand Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association.

7 Responses to Lex Peterson

  1. Dave Broomfield

    As the coach and manager of the NZ team from its inception in 1985 untill 1990 I have very fond memories of Lex his was the initiative along with Owen Pinnel that provided the impetus for the teams conception. I am currently working as the Fire
    Chief for the Nato forces in Bosnia but had I been in Canada and been advised of Lex’s condition I would have taken steaps to have supported him and his wife and son to whom I now send my deepest condolances.Sincerly Dave broomfield

  2. Owen Pinnell

    Lex was a friend and fierce competitor. He was a better bobsleigh driver than me, and would have medalled in the sport had he started earlier in life. His sudden death was a shock to us all.
    The message from Lex was “to always enjoy the moment ” He did and lived life to the fullest.
    Owen Pinnell

  3. Ted Herbert

    Lex was truly a risk taker. As a friend, he inspired taking chances. As a team mate, he pushed all of to do better. As a colleague he always did what he said he would do. As an entrepreneur, he always looked for opportunities. I will miss him for all of these reasons and remember fondly the times we spent together on and off the bobsleigh track.
    Ted Herbert, conditioning coach and bobsleigh manager, 1986- 1992.

  4. Brian Dunahee

    Lex Peterson was an exchange student at Lexington Illinois High school. He was in the class above me. This is my first knowledge of his passing. He stayed with one of my closest friends family. Last thing I heard of him was the Olympics. Was he still a flaming red head?

  5. bruce sandford

    Lex, along with his friend Owen Pinnell, formed the nucleus of something truly memorable for those of us fortunate enough to have stumbled into their circle. Ably supported, of course, by Boomer, Ted, Gilks et al, nevertheless, they were times infused with a dynamism sustained by a pair of generous and ingeneous individuals. Whatever experiences and success any of us had in the sports of skeleton and bobsleigh were largely due to the energy and commitment of these two men, and not, as is often the achillies heel of athletes self-estimation, too our own inate talent. Perhaps you knew this, Lex, but i’m sorry you’re not around to hear me say it. Thank you.

  6. Dominic McCarthy

    Sad to hear of Lex’s passing. Fondly remembered by many from all walks of life all over the globe…thanks and RIP. Haere ra my friend.

  7. Carrie Byrnell

    I was a friend of Lex’s and his girlfriend during his time as a contractor in Calgary… It wasn’t until years into our friendship that I finally learned of his extraordinary past as a Bobsled champion. This was because Lex was modest, humble and always played down his many accomplishments…
    Lex was also the life of the party. He loved life, and we were so happy for him when he found his true love and moved to Vancouver… I can still see him so clearly, telling us about how they met again and he was moving! He was so excited, he could barely keep still!
    We’ve missed you over the years Lex. I was sadden to learn of your death several years ago… I often think of you and our many conversations during our great dinner parties… Your incredible stories of your travels to Monaco and Asia, and your words of wisdom were always greatly appreciated. Thanks for being such a fine man and good friend…
    Love Always,

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