by Chris Dornan
January 25, 2014, SIGULDA, Lat. (ISN) – Canada’s Alex Gough is on a medal-winning streak heading into Sochi after capping off the World Cup luge season with a silver-medal performance on Saturday in Sigulda, Latvia.
The 26-year-old Calgarian was solid in both trips down the Sigulda track to clock a two-run time of 1:24.052 for the 17th World Cup medal of her career, and second straight silver in women’s singles racing.
“That was a very good race today with two solid runs,” said Wolfgang Staudinger, head coach, Canadian Luge Team. “We are only at this track once every two years so to be able to perform on a track where we have minimal runs is impressive.”
Gough was joined no the podium by Kate Hansen, of the United States, who finished first at 1:23.976. Russia’s Natalia Khoreva was third with a time of 1:24.155.
Feeding off her first career medal one week ago in Altenberg, Calgary’s 21-year-old Kimberley McRae had her name in the mix at the top of the leaderboard once again. McRae, who will make her Olympic debut in Sochi, punched the clock at 1:24.370 for sixth place.
“It was a really tight field today and to see Kim in the mix again is very encouraging,” said Staudinger. “She is a diamond coming up and it is nice to have two women’s sleds in the mix now.”
Arianne Jones, also of Calgary, was 16th at 1:24.790.
Meanwhile, Canada’s doubles sled of Tristan Walker and Justin Snith will head into Sochi after finishing eighth in Sigulda. Walker, of Cochrane, Alta., and Calgary’s Snith clocked-in at 1:23.304.
Italy’s Christian Oberstolz and Patrick Gruber won the doubles race with a time of 1:23.388. Russia’s Vladislav Yuzhakov and Vladimir Makhnutin were second at 1:23.434. Austria’s Andreas Linger and Wolfgang Linger rounded out the doubles podium in third with a time of 1:23.467.
The final World Cup of the season goes on Sunday in Sigulda, Latvia with the men’s race. The Canadian Luge Team will head to Sochi, Russia next Saturday.
“We are abosolutely where we want to be right now,” added Staudinger. “We have shown we are capable of being in the medals. If we do the work and stick to the plan then we can do well. Now it is up to us!”
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
Women’s Top-Five and Canadian Results:
1. Kate Hansen, USA, 1:23.976; 2. Alex Gough, Calgary, CAN, 1:24.052; 3. Natalia Khoreva, RUS, 1:24.155; 4. Erin Hamlin, USA, 1:24.316; 5. Tatiano Ivanova, RUS, 1:24.325
Other Canadian Results:
6. Kimberley McRae, Calgary, 1:24.370; 16. Arianne Jones, Calgary, 1:24.790
Top-Five Doubles and Canadian Results:
1. Oberstolz/Gruber, ITA, 1:23.388; 2. Yuzhakov/Makhnutin, RUS, 1:23.434; 3. Linger/Linger, AUT, 1:23.467; 4. Penz/Fischler, AUT, 1:23.615; 5. Sics/Sics, LAT, 1:23.642
8. Walker, Cochrane, Alta./Snith, Calgary, 1:23.304.