—Alex Gough slides to sixth, Arianne Jones places 13th—
CALGARY—Canada’s Kim McRae had the podium in her fingertips, but was forced to settle for a season-best fifth-place finish at the Viessmann Luge World Cup in Calgary on a chilly Friday night.
Sitting in third spot after the first bomb down the track where she set a new Canadian track record at 46.896, the 23-year-old put it all on the line in her final run, but a costly mistake come out of Kreisel cost her a podium spot. McRae was edged out of the medals in fifth at 1:33.798.
“I was fast in training all week, and felt really good. That first run was so consistent. I had a great start and was good down the track so I was really happy,” said McRae. “I came out of Kreisel wide and had no grip. I tried to get it back, but I just couldn’t and that was the difference for me today.”
It has been two long years for McRae since she’s been in the hunt for the podium. The Victoria-born Canuck cracked the World Cup podium two years ago in Altenberg, Germany when she was third – just days before making her Olympic debut in Sochi. McRae proved her bronze medal was no fluke after finishing fifth at the Games.
“I really wanted a podium today, but I have to be happy with fifth,” said McRae. “It is my best result of the season and it shows I’m back in it. I was right there and I know I can do it. I will build from this throughout the rest of the year,” added McRae.
Canada’s top slider, Alex Gough, was also mounting an attack on her second podium of the season, and third career medal on her home track in Calgary, but bled time down during a sloppy second run. Gough dropped to sixth place with a time of 1:33.897.
“Of course I would have wanted a better result, but I will learn from today,” said Gough. “The field has tightened up a lot, and you are starting to see a lot of girls step it up. We are in there. We need to find the right formula for us and come back strong.”
Germany’s Natalie Geisenberger successfully defended her World Cup title by winning her 32nd career race with a time of 1:33.569. The Americans continued their hot streak, grabbing the final two spots on the podium. Erin Hamlin dropped one spot in her second run, but held on for the silver medal with a time of 1:33.581. Summer Britcher climbed two spots in her final trip down the track to claim the bronze at 1:33.712.
Calgary’s Arianne Jones slid to 13th place in her first World Cup start of the season. Jones clocked-in at 1:34.502.
Earlier in the day Canada’s Tristan Walker and Justin Snith kicked off the Viessmann Luge World Cup with their best performance of the young season.
Sitting in eighth place after the first run, the 24-year-old Calgary-based duo climbed three spots after bombing down the 14-corner track in the second heat to finish fifth with a combined time of 1:29.034.
“We made a couple of little mistakes in that first run so our whole focus was to clean those up,” said Tristan Walker, who along with Snith were third at the Calgary World Cup one year ago. “We are competing in a sport that is timed in thousandths of a second so you are never going to be perfect, but those little mistakes are the difference of finishing on or off the podium.”
Germany’s Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken took home gold in the doubles race for the second straight year in Calgary. The current World Cup leaders clocked a time of 1:28.223. Austria’s Peter Penz and Georg Fischler were second at 1:28.327, while Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt slid to the bronze with a time of 1:28.580.
Leveraging being hosts of the event, Canada also suited up two British Columbia-based teenagers for their first World Cup. Matt Riddle, of Whistler, and Adam Shippit, of Pemberton, gained valuable experience, but did not finish after a costly mistake in the bottom part of the track on second run flipped their sled.
The World Cup wraps up on Saturday with the men’s singles race at 11 a.m., followed by the new sprint discipline.
Women’s Top-Five and Canadian Results:
1.Natalie Geisenberger, GER, 1:33.569; 2. Erin Hamlin, USA, 1:33.581; 3. Summer Britcher, USA, 1:33.712; 4. Tatyana Ivanova, RUS, 1:33.727; 5. Kim McRae, Calgary, CAN, 1:33.798
Other Canadian Results:
6. Alex Gough, Calgary, 1:33.897; 13. Arianne Jones, Calgary, 1:34.502
Doubles Top-Five and Canadian Results:
1. Eggert/Benecken, GER, 1:28.233; 2. Penz/Fischler, AUT, 1:28.327; 3. Wendl/Arlt, GER, 1:28.580; 4. Oberstolz/Gruber, ITA, 1:28.964; 5. Walker, Cochrane, Alta./Snith, Calgary, CAN, 1:29.034
Other Canadian Results:
DNF. Matt Riddle, Whistler, B.C./Adam Shippit, Pemberton, B.C.