(ISN) – KONIGSSEE, Ger.–Canada’s top luge athletes found themselves back in a comfortable position – on the World Cup podium – but were still left hungry for more after celebrating the bronze medal together on Sunday in Konigssee, Germany.
Led by back-to-back silver medallist this year, Alex Gough (Calgary), the trio of Canadian sleds, which also included Sam Edney (Calgary), along with Justin Snith (Calgary) and Tristan Walker (Cochrane, Alta.), the team had a firm grip on the silver, but a mistake near the bottom on the doubles run cost the Canucks some time. The team was still able to hang on for the bronze-medal at two minutes, 46.394 seconds (2:46.394).
“It was good to have our whole group back racing again, and get on the podium though. I think as a group we feel we didn’t win the bronze, but lost the silver today,” said Edney.
It was the first World Cup podium for the Canadians who were heavy favourites to medal in the event when the team relay made its debut at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. The Canucks finished in a heart breaking fourth-place at those Games.
“It was important for us to get on the podium today for sure,” added Edney. “The teams are now looking at this as a big race because they saw Olympic medals handed out last year. We know we are a team that can be on the podium each week and we don’t want to be on the outside looking in anymore. We have to get back in the mindset that we aren’t just happy with a podium, but we want to be right on the Germans butts each week and chasing them. I think that’s how we feel after today and that’s how we need to think.”
The Germans proved their dominance winning the relay with a time of 2:44.493. The Americans locked up second spot after punching the clock at 2:45.895.
The relay is a one-run bomb race consisting of one women’s, one men’s and one doubles sled. Athletes hit a pad hanging over the track after crossing the finish line, which opens the start gate for the next team member.
Earlier in the day, Edney was back at it in the men’s singles race. Winning his first World Cup race in dramatic fashion on his home track in Calgary prior to the holiday break, Edney had another solid outing placing eighth on the Konigssee track.
A home-away-from-home for the Canadian squad who spend considerable time training on the Konigsssee track, the 30-year-old Edney clocked a time of 1:40.735 down the 16-corner track which is located in the original home town of the team’s coach Wolfgang Staudinger.
“I threw away a shot at the podium with a mistake at the top in my second run,” said Edney following the snowy men’s singles race. “It was a really tight race. The sled was running really fast. I think the results show I’m right there. I just need to keep my emotions in check and not force it.”
World Cup leader and reigning Olympic champion, Felix Loch of Germany, finished on top of the men’s singles race with a time of 1:39.716. Andi Langenhan, also of Germany, was second at 1:40.471, while American Chris Mazdzer slid to the bronze medal for the second-straight race with a time of 1:40.525.
Calgary’s Mitchel Malyk placed 20th with a time of 1:41.247.
The Canadians will remain in Konigssee for a block of training this week before the World Cup resumes in Oberhof, Germany, January 12-18.
Top-Five Relay Results:
1. Germany, 2:44.493; 2. United States, 2:45.895; 3. Canada, 2:46.394; 4. Latvia, 2:46.794; 5. Russia, 2:46.955
Men’s Top-Five and Canadian Results:
1. Felix Loch, GER, 1:39.716; 2. Andi Langenhan, GER, 1:40.471; 3. Chris Mazdzer, USA, 1:40.525; 4. Stepan Fedorov, RUS, 1:40.539; 5. Julian von Schleinitz, GER, 1:40.702.
8. Sam Edney, Calgary, 1:40.735; 20. Mitchel Malyk, Calgary, 1:41.247