A safe sled setup cost Canada’s Tristan Walker and Justin Snith a shot at the medals on home ice at the Whistler Sliding Centre where they finished fifth in the doubles race at the Viessmann Luge World Cup on Friday afternoon.
The Olympic medallists from Calgary combined to clock a two-run time of 1:16.875.
“It is a little disappointing to be in fifth place,” said the 27-year-old Walker.
“We have been playing with our sled and trying to find a balance from where we had it set up last week. I think we went a little too conservative in the first run and lost too much time.”
The Canadian duo sat in sixth spot after their first blast down the lightning-quick nine-corner track that twists down Blackcomb Mountain. After making some sled adjustments before the final heat, the 10-year veterans of the Canadian program climbed one spot closer to the podium and came one-thousandth of a second from matching their career-best finish in Whistler.
“We were just way too conservative with the sled in the first run, so we took the training wheels off for the second run and brought the time down a bit,” said Snith, who turns 27 next week. “It was nice to be back competing in Whistler. It’s always nice to race in front of the home crowd. We just wish our result was a little bit better today.”
The Germans swept the doubles podium. Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken set the golden standard at 1:16.691. Robin Johannes Geuke and David Gamm slid into the silver medal position with a time of 1:16.710, while Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt capitalized on a mistake by first run leaders – Austria’s Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller – to claim the bronze medal at 1:16.720.
Hometown Boy Reid Watts Slides to 22nd
Whistler’s own Reid Watts was the top Canadian in the men’s singles race, finishing 22nd on Friday night.
The 2018 Olympian was sitting in 17th spot after his first run, but a costly error at the start of his second trip down the testy track dropped him into 22nd position with a two-run time of 1:40.859.
“I was feeling really good and motivated to push closer to the top-10 in the second run, but I hit off that wall and it really set me off,” said Watts. “That was a huge mistake. You can’t do that at the top because there is no way to make up the speed at the bottom. I’m always learning, and I’ll be better for going through this.”
A legacy baby from the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the Canadian teenage Watts took his first luge run ever 10 years ago this week at the Whistler Sliding Centre.
“The goal from day one was always to represent Canada on the world stage. I’m now 19 and things have come full circle. There is lots of pressure now especially racing at home, but it is something I have to deal with.”
Watts’ teammate and fellow Whistler-resident, Matt Riddle, also qualified for the men’s singles race. Riddle finished in 25th spot with a time of 1:41.134.
Austria’s Wolfgang Kindl won the men’s singles race with a time of 1:39.774. Germany’s Felix Loch was second at 1:39.873, while Austria’s Reinhard Egger held on for the bronze medal with a time of 1:39.901.
The Viessmann Luge World Cup continues on Saturday morning with the women’s singles race followed by the Viessmann Team World Cup presented by BMW.