luge can

by Chris Dornan

December 23, 2013, CALGARY (ISN) – Canada’s Arianne Jones will be heading to her first Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

“It really hasn’t sunk in yet because I was trying not to think about racing for a spot on the Olympic Team. That itself is too much to handle,” said Jones, who was presented with her Olympic team jacket by Canadian Olympic Committee Chief Executive Officer, Christopher Overholt.

“I wanted to just race for myself and I did it. It was hard earned and feels amazing.”

The 23 year old locked up the final spot on Canada’s Olympic Luge Team after winning a race-off against fellow Calgary-based teammate Jordan Smith. The race consisted of the best-of-three series held over two days. Smith won the opening three-run race. The winning time is determined from the athlete’s best-two times. Jones squared things up in the second race at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary to force a tiebreaker. Jones handily won the tiebreaker, and the right to call herself an Olympian.

“That was a lot to handle. I don’t think I’ve ever processed that many emotions,” added Jones. “There was a lot of ups and downs in such a short period of time so it is nice to breathe again.”

One of the smallest athletes on the World Cup circuit, Jones has six top-10 finishes while competing on the World Cup over the last quadrennial, but after battling injury and a slow start she struggled this season to lock up her Olympic qualifiers, which led the Canadian Luge Association to stage a race-off.

“This race was the highest amount of stress and pressure that I have ever faced so I can’t imagine experiencing anything more in a World Cup or Olympics,” said Jones. “I proved to myself that I can fight really hard under extreme circumstances and come out on top. I think when I come down from all of this it will definitely be a confidence booster for me going into the second half of the season.”

Jones joins five Canadian men and two other women that will hit the start handles in Sochi for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Two-time Olympian, Sam Edney, will lead teenagers John Fennell and Mitchel Malyk into their first Olympics in men’s singles. Tristan Walker and Justin Snith will hop on the lone Canadian doubles sled, while Jones will be with World Championship and World Cup medallist, Alex Gough and Kimberley McRae in the women’s singles race.