IGLS, Aut—Alex Gough put the Canadian Luge Team on her shoulders and led them to a silver medal in a World Cup team relay event on Sunday in Igls, Austria.
Finishing a shade off the podium in Saturday’s women’s singles race despite a strong effort, Calgary’s Gough was a rock in the relay, propelling the Canadian squad of Mitch Malyk (Calgary) along with doubles sled of Tristan Walker (Cochrane, Alta.) and Justin Snith (Calgary) to a silver-medal time of 2:11.025.
“I had a good day yesterday, but sometimes the luck isn’t on your side. There is not much more I could have done,” said Gough of her fourth place finish. “I just wanted to have fun today, and think of the enjoyment I have sliding. The goal was to have a great start and good runs. I was able to do that so I’m really happy we were able to finish on the podium. This will be a good confidence booster for our team.”
Starting in ninth position, the Canadians took advantage of snowy conditions and a frosty track to post an early time for the rest of the world to chase.
The 30-year-old Gough, who is the most successful athlete in the history of the Canadian Luge program, got the Canucks off to a sizeable lead where Malyk along with the doubles tandem of Walker and Snith were able to hold on to secure the silver.
The relay is a one-run bomb race that begins with a women’s sled, men’s singles sled followed by a doubles sled. Athletes hit a paddle that hangs over the finish line of the track to open the gate for the next competitor.
“I really enjoy being the first position. My starts are better than my reaction time so it is a good space for me race from,” said Gough. “I am in a good head space right now and am just finding my groove. We are going to keep working hard and building from this. I hope to bring the boys along with me and together we all just keep getting better.”
The Germans slid to the gold medal with a time of 2:10.667. Team Russia locked up the bronze behind the Canucks at 2:11.044.
It was the first relay race for the 20-year-old Malyk since helping the team to a World Championship bronze medal two years ago.
Earlier in the day Malyk finished 29th in the men’s singles race with a time of 1:42.716. Calgary’s Sam Edney placed 31st at 1:42.915.
The men’s race was won by Russia’s Semen Pavlichenko with a time of 1:41.771.