—First year doubles team Matt Riddle and Adam Shippit slide to fifth—
LILLEHAMMER, Nor.—Brooke Apshkrum had the performance of her life in women’s luge, winning Canada’s first gold medal at the Youth Olympic Games on Monday in Lillehammer, Norway.
Not only was it Apshkrum’s first gold medal, it was the 16-year-old Calgarian’s first international podium finish in her two years on the national junior squad.
“It is great. I am in total shock,” said Apshkrum who has been building towards this result with a seventh place finish at the Junior World Championships two weeks ago.
“I knew if I put down two good runs I could have an opportunity to be on the podium, but I totally didn’t expect a gold medal. It is just amazing and to be Canada’s first at the Games is an incredible feeling.”
Taking advantage of fast starts, Apshkrum was tied for second after her first bomb down the 12-corner track that hosted the 1994 Olympic Winter Games. Apshkrum saved her best for last with a near flawless run on her second bomb down the icy chute with a time of 52.861. Asphkrum’s combined winning time was 1:46.026.
“This is a track that has a pretty flat start ramp so it is an advantage for whoever has a good start. It is a fun track to ride,” said Apshkrum. “Standing in the leaders box was so suspenseful. I kept looking at the clock with anticipation and to finally win was awesome. My ultimate goal is 2022 (Olympics) so this is a big step forward (in that journey).”
The young Canuck topped Germany’s Jessica Tiebel who had the first run lead. Tiebel was forced to settle for the silver medal with a time of 1:46.097. Austria’s Madeleine Egle rounded out the podium in third with a time of 1:46.297.
Apshkrum’s golden run comes one day after teammate Reid Watts captured Canada’s first medal of the Youth Olympic Games when he slid to the bronze in men’s singles.
“I was at the track and watched Reid finish yesterday. Watching him on the podium I knew I wanted to be up there with him, and share in the medal celebrations,” said Apshkrum. “Bringing medals back home is our team’s goal. This is the pay off for all the work we do in the summer and winter. We are looking forward to one more race in the relay.”
“We are absolutely thrilled for Brooke. Her solid starts and great sliding are definitely the ingredients required for a golden performance,” said Walter Corey, high-performance director. “Our program is proof that by having access to world-leading facilities and the resources through the Canadian Sport Institutes, Canadian athletes can and will win medals. These performances validate the generous financial support by the Government of Canada through the Own the Podium program and ViaSport that includes a new commitment to supporting our next generation of Olympians. It is no coincidence. This support clearly has been core to the development of our young athletes into podium contenders, which will benefit our nation well into the future.”
Two other young first year sliders on the Canadian Luge Team also put down a solid result at the Youth Olympic Games. British Columbia boys, Matt Riddle (Whistler, B.C.) and Adam Shippit (Pemberton, B.C.), had one of their best international performances with a fifth place finish in doubles after clocking a time of 1:45.955.
Italy’s Felix Schwarz and Lukas Gufler won the doubles race with a time of 1:44.260. Germany’s Hannes Orlamuender and Paul Gubitz slid to the silver medal at 1:45.114. Russia’s Vsevold Kashkin and Konstantin Korshunov clocked-in at 1:45.272 for the bronze medal.
Each of Canada’s four luge athletes will take part in the team relay on Tuesday.