“Unlike some of my friends who didn't choose the right route, I got out at a crucial time”
From 'getting up to no good' in the rough parts of Manchester and being petrol-bombed in Northern Ireland, to helping protect the Queen and
qualifying for the Winter Olympics.
It is an incredible tale, which is perhaps only lacking a Hollywood ending.
On Sunday the 32-year-old made his Team GB Olympic bow in Sochi, piloting the two-man bobsleigh team.
It essentially acts as a warm-up for the four-man competition, which begins on 22 February.
"There were hard times and I could have gone down the wrong road," said Deen, who has several childhood friends who have spent significant time in jail.
"Fortunately I joined the military and they moulded me and turned me into the person I am today."
Lamin Deen working for the Grenadier Guards and during active service on tour with the military.
Deen's family herald from Sierra Leone, but the athlete himself was born in London and moved to Manchester's then notorious Moss Side area at the age of nine.
He recalls earning a little pocket money by offering to 'protect' the cars of Manchester City fans who parked in his neighbourhood - a short distance from the club's previous Maine Road home.
However, this was not an entirely altruistic act. "Lets just say there was a penalty if they didn't pay," he says.
Behind the scenes with GB Bobsleigh pilot Deen
"That part of Manchester in the late 1990s wasn't the place to be.
"There was a lot of gang culture and I got into a bit of bother, but unlike some of my friends who didn't choose the right route I got out at a crucial time."
Aged 15 years and 9 months, Deen quit Stockport College a month into his first term and joined the military.
"It was by far harder than anything I had done in my life," he said. "It was a mill-grinder, tough, no, really tough, but I came out of the other end of it and was really proud of myself."
Tours of Bosnia and Kosovo followed, but time in Northern Ireland towards the end of the large-scale sectarian conflict proved to be character-building.
"One minute I was in the streets of Manchester, the next I was in Belfast and Dungannon [Ulster], behind the picket lines with a shield and getting petrol bombs thrown at you.
Baines on Deen partnership
"I've competed with Deano [Lamin Deen] throughout the season in both the two and four-man events and I'm confident we can perform well together," said John Baines.
"It became normality to me and I just took everything that life threw at me - literally."
Deen avoided a tour of Afghanistan after being talent-spotted at a military sports event where he was competing in the 200m sprint.
Quick athletes often find a home in bobsleigh teams around around the world and this was to be the case for Deen who was was fast-tracked into the British set-up in 2007.
After his experiences during active service you would imagine life as a professional bobsleigher would have been light relief - not so according to Deen.
"What makes bobsleigh so difficult is the unpredictability," he tells BBC Sport.
"In the military there are commands and procedures but when you're out on the ice anything can happen."
His day-to-day role with the
has seen him involved in 'Trooping the Colour' on numerous occasions, but combining this with training was difficult and he missed out on selection for the 2010 Vancouver Games.
"I was watching it on my sofa in Manchester and that's where I made the decision I had to go to the next Olympics," said Deen.
Sochi 2014: Guide to bobsleigh
"I didn't want to go as a brakeman though. I wanted to be in control of my own destiny and try out as a pilot."
He was given an extended leave of absence to focus on reaching Sochi and after a difficult campaign Deen secured his place in the Team GB squad for at the last qualification event.
He was given lead pilot John Jackson's usual crew and achieved a
career-best World Cup finish
of 11th in Igls, Austria last month, which landed Great Britain a second four-man sled for the Olympics and also unlocked a place in the two-man competition.
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