IGLS, Aut.—Canada’s luge squad finished a disappointing sixth-place in the team relay at the World Championships on Sunday in Igls, Austria, but they are not ready to hit the panic button on their quest to win an Olympic medal in the discipline in one year’s time.
The Calgary-based team of Olympians included Alex Gough, Sam Edney along with Tristan Walker and Justin Snith. The three sleds combined for a time of 2:00.90.
“That isn’t the result we wanted, but Justin and I had some positives today as well. We had the quickest reaction time out of the start which is something we’ve been working on all year,” said Walker, who along with Snith were 10th in Saturday’s doubles race. “It’s not over for us that’s for sure. The results show this is one of the tightest relays. It was so close out there. The rest of the world has caught up, but we know we are right in the mix too.”
A medal favourite heading into the team relay, which consists of one women’s singles, one men’s singles followed by one doubles sled, a veteran team of Canucks could not find the fast line to the podium on the 10-corner Igls track at the final major measuring stick before the 2018 Olympic Games.
“We definitely wanted more today. There is work to do on all fronts. We all have room to keep working on things and have to keep pushing to be in top form moving forward,” said Alex Gough, who had the Canadians in fourth spot after completing the opening leg.
Gough, along with doubles team of Walker and Snith, are hungry for the Olympic podium after two heart breaking fourth place finishes at the 2014 Games in Sochi.
The Germans proved their dominance, winning the team event with a time of 2:08.74. The United States celebrated the silver medal at 2:08.664, while the Russia’s took the final step on the relay podium after edging out the host Italians with a time of 2:08.984.
Earlier in the day, Calgary’s Mitch Malyk was the top Canadian in the men’s singles event, finishing 25th at 1:41.648. Reid Watts, of Whistler, B.C., and Calgary’s Sam Edney did not qualify for the second run placing 26th and 28th respectively.
Austria’s Wolfgang Kindl won the men’s event with a time of 1:39.799. Russia’s Roman Repilov slid to the silver step of the podium after clocking in at 1:39.861, while Italy’s Dominik Fischnaller thrilled the hometown crowd with a bronze-medal finish after stopping the clock at 1:39.919.
The Canadians won’t leave Austria empty handed. Kim McRae made history on Saturday as just the second Canadian ever to win a World Championship individual medal when she claimed the bronze in the women’s singles race.
The team now travels to Oberhof, Germany for the next stop on the World Cup circuit.