Mitch Malyk leads new-look Canadian men’s squad, placing 16th in singles
IGLS, Aut.—Canada’s luge relay squad found themselves on the outside looking in on the World Cup podium with a fifth-place finish in the opening team relay event in Igls, Austria on Sunday.
With veteran Sam Edney taking the year off to attend school, the attention has been turned to Calgary’s 20-year-old Mitch Malyk to take a huge step in his development and fill the void. Malyk teamed up with World Cup medallists, Alex Gough in women’s singles along with doubles sled Tristan Walker and Justin Snith for the one-run team bomb down the Igls track.
A regular medal contender in the team event, the Canadian squad has a big hill to climb after finishing fifth with a time of 2:09:942.
“We were right there today and could have had a medal,” said Wolfgang Staudinger, head coach, Canadian Luge Team. “We are making very silly mistakes and need to make smart decisions. This field is so tight right now, there is absolutely no margin for error. We have to be smart, be patient and be consistent or we’ll be watching other nations celebrating medals.”
The Germans definitely proved they have all those tools in their arsenal, winning the relay with a time of 2:09.035. Latvia was second at 2:09.428, while Italy slid to the bronze with a time of 2:09.799.
Earlier in the day, Malyk finished in the middle of the pack in the men’s singles race. The 2014 Olympian clocked a 16th-place time of 1:41.347
“Consistency is absolutely key for success and the biggest challenge with young athletes,” said Staudinger. “I know from Mitch’s training he can be consistent. Expectations are high on the first run and we made mistakes, but on the second run it was very good. He has to confirm his training on both runs during the race.”
Italy’s Dominik Fischnaller won the men’s singles race with a time of 1:40.687. Austria’s Armin Frauscher slide to the silver medal with a time of 1:40.693, while Wolfgang Kindl, also of Austria, locked up the bronze with a time of 1:40.719.
Calgary’s John Fennell also hit the start line and finished 29th (1:42.465).
The Canadian team will now return to North America for the second stop on the World Cup circuit set for Lake Placid, New York.
Top-Five Relay Results
1. Germany, 2:09.035; 2. Latvia, 2:09.428; 3. Italy, 2:09.799; 4. Austria, 2:09.871; 5. Canada, 2:09.942
Top-Five Men’s Singles and Canadian Results:
1. Dominik Fischnaller, ITA, 1:40.687; 2. Armin Frauscher, AUT, 1:40.693; 3. Wolfgang Kindl, AUT, 1:40.719; 4. Andi Langenhan, GER, 1:40.740; 5. Roman Repilov, RUS, 1:40.756
16. Mitch Malyk, Calgary, 1:41.347; 29. John Fennell, Calgary, 1:42.465