—Alex Gough ninth, Kim McRae 11th, Arianne Jones 13th in women’s racing—
KONIGSSEE, Ger.—Canada’s Tristan Walker and Justin Snith had their first ever Luge World Championship medal in their hands, and simply let it slip away, finishing eighth in doubles racing on Saturday.
Sitting in third spot after their first blast down the 11-corner Konigssee track, Walker (Cochrane, Alta.) and Snith (Calgary) were sliding to the podium during a nearly perfect second run, but made a costly mistake midway down the track on their final run, dropping them into eighth spot with a time of 1:41.155.
“It sucks! There is no other way to put it,” said Snith. “We had a medal in our hands and just gave it away.”
The 24-year-old Canucks have had success in Konigssee throughout their seven-year career. Their first World Cup medal came on the German track in 2014. But Canada’s most successful doubles team ever has had a challenging time finding their top form since a heartbreaking Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia where they had a fourth in doubles, and a fourth also in the team relay.
“This stings just as much, if not more, than Sochi,” added Snith, who had a season-best fourth-place World Cup finish two weeks ago in Oberhof with Walker. “On the upside, we know the speed is there and we are in the game when we have good runs. Tomorrow is another race we have to look forward to, and then we must refocus on the final World Cups of the season. I know we will learn from today and come back stronger.”
The Germans grabbed the top-two spots on the doubles podium. Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt finished on top with a time of 1:38.975. Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken slid to the silver medal at 1:39.586, while Italy’s Christian Oberstolz and Patrick Gruber had a strong second run, moving them into third place with a time of 1:40.728.
It was also a difficult outing for the Canadian women at a venue the red and white have often referred to as their second home.
Calgary’s Alex Gough has also struggled to find her medal-winning form this year, which was the case on Saturday in Konigssee. The three-time Olympian was the top Canadian woman in ninth spot with a time of 1:41.576.
Victorian-born slider, Kim McRae, placed 11th at 1:41.612, while Calgary’s Arianne Jones placed 13th (1:41.999)
Germany’s Natalie Geisenberger captured the women’s World Championship crown with a two-run time of 1:40.799. Switzerland’s Martina Kocher was second at 1:41.038, while Russia’s Tatiana Ivanova squeaked into the bronze-medal step of the podium with a time of 1:41.055.
The World Championships continue on Sunday with the men’s singles and team relay events.
Doubles Top-Five and Canadian Results:
1. Wendl/Arlt, GER, 1:38.975; 2. Eggert/Benecken, GER, 1:39.586; 3. Oberstolz/Gruber, ITA, 1:40.728; 4. Geueke/Gamm, GER, 1:40.772; 5. Sics/Sics, LAT, 1:40.778
8. Tristan Walker, Cochrane, Alta./Justin Snith, Calgary, 1:41.155
Women’s Top-Five and Canadian Results:
1.Natalie Geisenberger, GER, 1:40.799; 2. Martina Kocher, SUI, 1:41.038; 3. Tatiana Ivanova, RUS, 1:41.055; 4. Tatjana Hufner, GER, 1:41.056; 5. Eliza Cauce, LAT, 1:41.154.
9. Alex Gough, Calgary, 1:41.576; 11. Kim McRae, Calgary, 1:41.612; 13. Arianne Jones, Calgary, 1:41.999