PYEONGCHANG, Kor.—Sam Edney is back!
Returning to the national team after taking one year off to nurse a series of injuries and get a break from the grind of the World Cup luge circuit, the 15-year veteran of the National Luge Team became the first Canadian male ever to reach the elite podium outside of Canada.
Calgary’s Edney won the bronze medal at the Viessmann Luge World Cup test event in Pyeongchang, Korea on Sunday with a time of 1:37.694.
“I needed it today. It has been a pretty dismal year and I have been pretty hard on myself after most races,” said Edney, who was part of the fourth-place relay team at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. “I went into the season with the focus on World Championships and this test event in Pyeongchang. The Worlds was a down point for me and I walked away from it with my head pretty low.
“This result is vital for me to walk away from the season, and know that it is not a failure at all. There are lots of positives and I know what I have to do mentally and physically. I was getting into a pretty dark place and questioning what I was doing, but this will carry me through the summer and gives me the motivation I need to train my butt off – knowing I can still be there.”
The 32-year-old Edney was joined on the podum by Italy’s Dominik Fischnaller, who posted the winning time of 1:37.229. Germany’s Andi Langenhan was second at 1:37.378.
A three-time Olympian, Edney’s only other singles podium came three years ago when he became the first Canadian male to win a World Cup luge race. He did so in front of friends and family on the track he grew up in Calgary at Canada Olympic Park.
“This is a big honour for me. I have always wanted to solidify that result I had in Calgary. I had some close calls on some tracks, but never quite did it again,” said Edney. “It is an honour to be here and represent Canada, and etch my name a little more in Canadian luge history. I am happy to be with this team who is still breaking down history and showing the world what we can do.”
Edney was one of the few sliders in the deep men’s field to find his way, and let the sled fly, on the tricky track that will host the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
“I had a really good, solid week of training so I had a lot of confidence knowing the majority of the guys were having issues on the track,” added Edney. “I might be the old dog on Tour, but I think that is to my advantage when we get to a new track where it takes the experience, and the volume of runs I have on the tracks around the world, to help pick up new things for a new track.
“I had two consistent runs – not the fastest – but more than enough to get me where I wanted to be. I obviously enjoy the track. I have a good feeling here and I’m just thrilled to be able to turn things around today. I didn’t want to get ahead of myself, but I found a lot of enjoyment out of the training again this week and that motivates me.”
The only other Canadian male luge athlete to medal in a singles World Cup race was Tyler Seitz who won a bronze in 2002 on the Calgary track that he operates today.
Reid Watts, of Whistler, B.C., placed 21t with a time of 1:38.862. Calgary’s Mitch Malyk was 25th (1:39.127).