by Chris Dornan
January 5, 2014, KONIGSSEE, Ger. (ISN) – Canada’s luge athletes completed a medal hat trick at the World Cup in Konigssee, Germany by sliding to the silver in the team relay completion on Sunday.
Capping off the most successful weekend in the history of the Canadian luge program, Calgarians Sam Edney, Alex Gough, Justin Snith, and Tristan Walker, of Cochrane, Alta., joined forces to win the silver medal at 2:44.499.
“We had a race full of little mistakes from all three sleds including Sam bumping the wall off the start. Having made mistakes, and to still finish second, shows the class these three sleds are sliding in right now,” said Wolfgang Staudinger, head coach, Canadian Luge Team. “It was another great day and we are happy with how things are going.”
Germany finished on top at 2:42.781, while Italy clocked-in at 2:44.681 for the bronze.
It was the third silver for the Canadian foursome in the team relay this year.
“It gets tighter and tighter every week and less room for mistakes,” said Staudinger. “Nothing is a guarantee in this race. Can very easily be standing in fourth and not very happy. That’s what makes this event so exciting. With three sleds there is lots of room for error, but our results show we are definitely in the game.”
The team competition consists of one female sled, one male sled and one doubles team sled. Each athlete completes one run for a combined final time. Consistency amongst all three sliders is the key to success in the team event. In an effort to make luge more exciting for the teams and spectators, the International Luge Federation introduced the relay-type system that had the athletes hitting a pad that hangs over the track at the finish, which in turn opens the gate at the start for the next team member.
Feeding off the momentum of a memorable Saturday led by 26-year-old Gough’s bronze, along with Walker and Snith’s, both 22, first-ever bronze in doubles, Sam Edney continued his quest to add another chapter to the history books in men’s singles.
With a trio of sixth-place finishes this year, the veteran of the Canadian squad and two-time Olympian edged closer to the ultimate goal by matching his career-best fifth-place finish. Edney blasted down the 11-corner Konigssee track in a combined time of 1:39.232.
“Sam is so close to breaking through and getting onto the podium,” added Staudinger. “He is no different than Alex a few years ago and the doubles this year. When you finish in that group consistently, it is just a matter of time until the ball starts rolling and it happens. He was very close today to it being his day.”
Germany’s Felix Loch won the gold with a time of 1:38.266. Days removed from his 40th birthday, Italy’s Armin Zoggeler claimed the silver at 1:39.129. Switzerland’s Gregory Carigiet locked up the bronze medal at 1:39.203.
Calgary’s Mitchel Malyk was 20th (1:40.204).
The Canadian team will have its work cut out for them next week to continue the string of medals when the World Cup travels to the highly-technical track in Oberhof, Germany.
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
Top-Five Team Relay Results:
1. Germany, 2:42.781; 2. Canada, 2:44.499; 3. Italy, 2:44.681; 4. Russia, 2:44.696; 5. United States, 2:44.879
Top-Five Men’s Singles and Canadian Results:
1. Felix Loch, GER, 1:38.266; 2. Armin Zoggeler, ITA, 1:39.129; 3. Gregory Carigiet, SUI, 1:39.203; 4. Dominik Fischnaller, ITA, 1:39.224; 5. Sam Edney, Calgary, CAN, 1:39.232.
Other Canadian Results:
20. Mitchel Malyk, Calgary, 1:40.204