November 24, 2013, IGLS, Aut. (ISN) – Canada’s luge athletes proved they have the tools to be on the Olympic podium in the team relay in February after winning the silver medal in the new discipline on Sunday in Igls, Austria.
One of the most consistent nations on the luge circuit, Canada’s 26-year-old Alex Gough joined forces with Sam Edney, 29, and a doubles tandem of Tristan Walker, 22, and Justin Snith, 21, teamed up to win their second-straight silver in Igls after punching the clock with a combined time of 2:12.172.
“Silver was a huge day for us,” said Sam Edney, 11-year veteran of the national squad. “Going into an Olympic year it’s nice to show ourselves we are still there, and knowing that we still push together to get better each week, until the big race with the final goal being in February.”
The determined Canucks finished just behind that powerful German team who clocked a golden time of 2:11.798. Italy was third at 2:12.266.
“When we broke into the medals a few years ago we were a young team with potential. We have all matured to the point where we know what we want to achieve, and can achieve,” added Edney. “You can’t help but realize now we are a medal threat at the Games with our past results. We trained all summer knowing teams would be putting lots of focus and pressure into the relay this year. We did the same and wanted to come into this race showing the strength of our team and each sled that’s entered.”
The team competition, which is a one-run bomb race, consists of one female sled, one male sled and one doubles team sled, who each complete one run for a combined final time. In an effort to make the event more exciting for the teams and spectators, the International Luge Federation introduced the relay-type system that had the athletes hitting a pad at the finish, which in turn opens the gate at the start for the next team member. Strategy comes into play as the coaches communicate over radio to make sure the next athlete is ready to go as soon as the gate opens.
The International Olympic Committee announced last year the luge team event will make its Olympic debut at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.
Earlier in the day, Tristan Walker (Cochrane, Alta.) and Calgary’s Justin Snith, finished 12th in the doubles race. The Canadians posted a time of 1:21.808.
Germany’s Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken finished on top at 1:21.016, while Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt slid to the silver with a time of 1:21.099. Austria’s Peter Penz and Georg Fischler rounded out the podium in third with a time of 1:21.299.
The Luge World Cup now travels to Winterberg, Germany before returning to Canada for a week of racing at the Whistler Sliding Centre, December 2-7, 2013.
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 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
Team Relay Results:
1. Germany, 2:11.748; 2. Canada 2:12.172; 3. Italy 2:12.266; 4. USA, 2:12.501; 5. Austria, 2:12.639
6. Sam Edney, Calgary, 1:41.200; 23. Mitchel Malyk, Calgary, 1:41.894
Doubles Top-Five and Canadian Results:
1. Eggert/Benecken, GER, 1:21.016; 2. Wendl/Artl, GER, 1:21.099; 3. Penz/Fischler, AUT, 1:21.299; 4. Oberstolz/Gruber, ITA, 1:21.304; 5. Linger/Linger, AUT, 1:21.444
12. Tristan Walker, Cochrane, Alta./Justin Snith, Calgary, 1:21.808