November 21, 2012, CALGARY—Canadian Luge Champions Alex Gough, Sam Edney, along with doubles team Tristan Walker and Justin Snith will lead a determined luge team into the critical pre-Olympic season that will officially kick off this weekend in Igls, Austria.
The 25-year-old Gough will be one of four Canadian women to hit the start houses on tracks around the world this winter. Gough is coming off another record-breaking season where she became the first Canadian to win a World Cup race on home ice. Gough, who has collected two gold and five bronze medals on the World Cup over the last two years in addition to her bronze-medal win at the 2011 World Championships, was third at the season-opener last year in Igls, Austria.
It will be a crucial year for the 27-year-old Sam Edney, who posted the best-ever Canadian performance at the Olympic Winter Games when he was seventh in Whistler, B.C. as he looks to make his breakthrough against the world’s elite and follow Gough’s trail to the international podium.
Calgary’s Justin Snith, 20, and 21-year-old Tristan Walker, of Cochrane, Alta., will round out Canada’s dynamic relay team determined to chase the organization’s first Olympic medal in 2014. The Alberta-based tandem, who continue to develop into one of the best doubles teams the country has ever had since their Olympic debut in 2010 at just 18years old, are regulars in the top-10 with a career-best sixth-place resultcoming last year on their home ice in Calgary.
“Alex’s breakthrough over the last two season has inspired our young, yet experienced, team to train harder and believe they too can compete with the best and win,” said Walter Corey, high-performance director, Canadian Luge Association. “While this team remains small and young compared to our World Cup rivals, we have big goals that our program is committed to reaching together with our sport partners.”
Gough will be joined by Calgary’s Arianne Jones, who will start her third season on the World Cup circuit. The 22 year old charted six, top-10 finishes in just her second season last year, which included a career-best sixth in Winterberg, and a 10th-place finish at the World Championships in Altenberg, Germany. Calgary’s Kim McRae will look to build on a strong rookie season where the 20-year-old had two top-10 finishes. Calgary’s 19-year-old Jordan Smith will suit up for her first full season on the World Cup after solid series of selection races.
Edney will be joined on the men’s squad by 17-year-old Calgarian, Mitchel Malyk, who slid to one gold and two silver medals on the Youth World Cup last year. Malyk, who will also take advantage of his junior eligibility this year, will represent Canada at the elite World Championships and SochiWorld Cup to gain experience leading towards the 2014 Olympic year.
The World Cup begins this week in Igls, Austria, November 24-25. Canada will play host to the 2013 World Championships at the Whistler Sliding Centre, January 29 – February 2, 2013.
Malyk will also continue his development competing with Canada’s next generation of Olympians when the young Canucks hit the track for their season-opener on the Junior World Cup in Lillehammer, Norway, December 7-8.
Other members of the junior group include: Edmonton’s John Fennell and Calgary’s Tim Stone on the men’s teams. Calgary’s Laura Glover and Jordyn Carss, along with Jenna Spencer, of Mount Currie, B.C., will suit up for the women. Two Calgarians – Justin Tobin and Taylor Donegan – will also hop on the lone junior Canadian doubles sled for the 2012-13 campaign
Canada will host a Junior World Cup race at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, January 24-25, 2013.
The Canadian Luge Association is a not-for-profit organization governing the sport of luge across the country. With the financial backing of its title sponsor, Fast Track Capital, along with the support from the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, the Canadian Luge Association safely recruits and develops the nation’s current and future high-performance luge athletes with the goal of regularly climbing onto theinternational podium. For more information on the Canadian Luge Association, please visit us at www.luge.ca on the Internet.