Sam Edney retired from the sport of luge after stepping onto the podium for a silver medal at the Olympic Games. One of the world’s most respected luge athletes has been given the nod by Luge Canada to help the next generation achieve their own Olympic dreams as the organization’s new high-performance manager.
Compassionate, selfless, willing to challenge obstacles while exuding a passion for sport, fair play and a commitment to excellence, the 34-year-old Edney was a trailblazer for luge in Canada over the last two decades and now shifts his focus to guiding a new era for Luge Canada’s high-performance program.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to have a positive impact on the future of our sport in Canada,” said Edney. “I know the work that goes into the process of developing a medal-winning program, and now I get to be a part of the team that works extremely hard on the other side to support our athletes and coaches. The dream remains the same. I am now motivated to give our athletes the opportunity to achieve their own performance goals and get our program back onto the Olympic podium.”
Sliding into retirement one year ago as Canada’s most decorated male luge athlete, Edney played a leading role on a luge team that captured the hearts of all Canadians with an incredible drive to bring credibility to their sport in Canada – evolving the program from being mere participants content with wearing the Canadian team uniform 20 years ago into Olympic medallists in 2018.
“I know there is already a strong mentality in our elite program with my former teammates Tristan Walker and Justin Snith leading the way and I look forward to continuing to work with them, but I’m almost more excited with the opportunity to help shape the future of our younger athletes,” said Edney, who will be encouraging athletes to learn from the challenges and celebrate the achievements.
“The bar has been set and there are obviously some shoes to fill. I know our young athletes want to fill those holes in the program. It is an exciting challenge to help them step up and achieve our collective goals. I know what the athletes are going through, and the challenges they face. I will share my experiences and I hope to be able to plant that medal-winning drive, and belief the podium is possible, much sooner in the athletes’ development process.”
The leader of the men’s squad over the last eight years, Edney became just the second Canadian male ever to stand on the men’s individual luge World Cup podium. His breakthrough came in 2014 at home in Calgary when he also became the first Canadian male to win a World Cup race in the sport – just months removed from a near podium finish at the Sochi Games. In addition to being a key sled in the team relay where he celebrated 15 World Cup and three World Championship medals, Edney went on to become the first Canadian male ever to win a World Cup luge medal outside of the country when he slid to the bronze on the PyeongChang track in 2017. He also added a silver at the World Cup race in Calgary in his final preparations for the 2018 Games where he put a silver lining around his remarkable career.
“Sam is a highly-motivated professional who knows what it takes to win,” said Tim Farstad, executive director, Luge Canada. “His track to the podium was long and gradual, loaded with devastation and celebratory moments. Our program is now beginning a new era. He understands the patience and time investment required to build a medal-winning program. This is a new beginning for Sam. I know he will grow in his new role with our program and I am confident he can transfer the knowledge gained as an athlete to ensure luge in Canada continues its success well into the future”
Edney has been living and working in Victoria over the last two years with his wife and daughter where he also completed his Business Degree at Royal Roads University. It was only a matter of time until his focus shifted back to getting home and be a part of Canada’s sport system.
“I have always had candid conversations over the last few years to ensure I stayed involved in sport because I always really felt the urge to give back – I just didn’t know in what capacity,” said Edney. “It hit me on the one-year anniversary of the 2018 Games that I was ready to get involved. I knew coaching wasn’t the route I wanted to go. The program was going through a transition period, and this unique position became available which really intrigued me.”
Working with Luge Canada’s national sport and funding partners along with head coach Wolfgang Staudinger and the support staff, Edney is determined to build on the program’s strong foundation while bringing a new context to a coach-driven, athlete-focused program that is accountable, reliable and committed to the process.
Edney will relocate to Calgary in August. His first day in the high-performance manager chair with Luge Canada will be August 12.