February 24, 2013, Sochi, Rus (ISN) – Canadian luge athletes Tristan Walker and Justin Snith will spend the summer fighting for the fractions of a second that cost them a shot at their first career podium on the Olympic Track in Sochi, Russia on Saturday.
Sitting in second spot after the opening bomb down the 2014 Olympic track, the 21-year-old Canadian duo struggled on the final descent, posting the 10th fastest time, to finish fourth with a time of 1:42.322 for the third straight week.
“The Austrians opened the door for us to get on the podium, and unfortunately Walker and Snith did not take gift that was presented on a silver plate to the podium. We just gave it away today,” said Wolfgang Staudinger, head coach, Canadian Luge Team.
Walker, of Cochrane, Alta., and Calgary’s Snith, may have missed first shot at a podium, but the young Canucks have enjoyed a breakthrough season. Battling their way into the top-10 at the start of the pre-Olympic year, Walker and Snith posted a historic fourth-place finish at the World Championships earlier this month on home ice in Whistler. They matched their career-best finish the following week in Lake Placid before heading to Russia for the final Olympic test.
“I know that it is one big step to take to get to the next level on the podium,” said Walker following their World Championship performance. “We need to keep working on that consistency, and that is the difference of competing with the Germans.”
Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt won the final World Cup race on Saturday with a time of 1:42.087. Austria’s Peter Penz and Georg Fischler finished second at 1:42.221. Latvia’s Andris Sics and Juris Sics slid to the bronze medal with a time of 1:42.243.
Earlier in the day, Calgary’s Alex Gough finished as the top Canadian in the women’s singles race. The 25-year-old Gough dropped two spots in rankings on her final trip down the track to finish sixth at 1:42.416. Calgary’s Kim McRae completed a solid second year on the World Cup at just 20 years of age, finishing ninth with a two-run time of 1:48.802.
“Kim had a solid race and performance today with two good starts and runs. This is her best ever season, a great result for her being so young. It proves she has great potential,” said Staudinger. “Alex had good starts but made a couple of small mistakes and was not able to break onto the podium. We can’t take the podium for granted now. We need to continue to do what we do, and be more stable than what we have been lately.”
The Germans swept the women’s podium. Tatjana Hufner was first at 1:41.922, while Natalie Geisenberger was second with a time of 1:41.960 and Anke Wischnewski slid to the bronze at 1:42.228.
Calgary’s Arianne Jones rounded out the Canadian contingent finishing 15th at 1:43.132.
The final World Cup race of the season takes place in Sochi on Sunday with the men’s singles and team relay events.
The Canadian Luge Association is a not-for-profit organization responsible for 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 the international podium. For more information on the Canadian Luge Association, please visit us at www.luge.ca on the Internet.
COMPLETE RESULTS: www.fil-luge.org
Doubles Top-Five and Canadian Results: 1. Tobias Wendl/Tobias Arlt, GER, 1:42.087; 2. Peter Penz/Georg Fischler, AUT, 1:42.221; 3. Andris Sics/Juris Sics, LAT, 1:42.243; 4. Tristan Walker, Cochrane, Alta./Justin Snith, Calgary, CAN, 1:42.322; 5. Ludwig Rieder/Patrick Raster, ITA, 1:42.445
Women’s Top-Five Results:
1.Tatjana Hufner, GER, 1:41.922; 2. Natalie Geisenberger, GER, 1:41.960; 3. Anke Wischnewski, GER, 1:42.228; 4. Tatiana Ivanova, RUS, 1:42.317; 5. Aileen Frisch, GER, 1:42.325
Other Canadian Results:
6. Alex Gough, Calgary, 1:42.416; 9. Kim McRae, Calgary, 1:42.802; 15. Arianne Jones, Calgary, 1:43.132