This article was originally published on the Luge Canada website.
Nearly one year after coming agonizingly close the program’s first Olympic medal, Canada’s top luge athletes have something to celebrate – winning the bronze medal in the relay event at the World Championships in Sigulda, Latvia.
Heavy favourites to medal when the team relay made its debut at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, the Canucks finished a heart-breaking fourth. Today they were not going to allow that to happen again.
Led by one of the best women’s sliders in the world, Calgary’s Alex Gough set the tone for the Canadians before Sam Edney (Calgary) took his blast down the track and put the doubles tandem of with Justin Snith (Calgary) and Tristan Walker (Cochrane, Alta.) to bring it home. The Canadians clocked-in at 2:14.129.
“It was enjoyable to get on the podium in Latvia after having the Latvian team snuff us one year ago at the Olympics for that bronze medal,” said Sam Edney. “Our team needed this result overall. It hasn’t come as easy to us this year as it has in the past. It’s clear to us other nations have caught up and are set on raising the bar so winning a bronze medal on a track like Sigulda means a lot to our entire team, and we are thrilled to bring it home for Canada.”
The bronze-medal victory didn’t come without controversy. Officials questioned whether Sam Edney touched the green finishing pad at the end of the track. After video replay it was confirmed Edney did hit the pad.
The relay is a one-run bomb race consisting of one women’s, one men’s and one doubles sled. Athletes hit a pad hanging over the track after crossing the finish line, which opens the start gate for the next team member.
“My second run earlier in the day in singles race got affected by some win on the start and I lost my opportunity at a top-10,” added Edney, who said the race was a bit of a crap shoot at times with the conditions. “I tried to bottle up that energy for the team relay. Alex had a solid run time, and I had a fantastic run so I was happy.”
Germany won the relay race with a time of 2:13.152. Russia celebrated the silver at 2:13.234.
The Canadians also won a World Cup bronze last month in Konigssee, Germany in the relay.
Earlier in the day, Sam Edney finished 17th in the men’s singles race. The three-time Olympian posted a two-run time of 1:37.597.
Russia’s Semen Pavlichenko won his first World Championship title after setting a golden time of 1:36.288. Olympic and World Champion, Felix Loch of Germany, was forced to settle for second at 1:36.359, while Austria’s Wolfgang Kindl locked up the bronze at 1:36.472.
The Canadians will now compete in their final World Cup race of the year next week in Altenberg, Germany.
COMPLETE RESULTS: www.fil-luge.org
Top-Five Relay Results:
1. Germany, 2:13.152; 2. Russia, 2:13.234; 3. Canada, 2:14.129; 4. Italy, 2:14.304; 5. United States, 2:14.542
Men’s Top-Five and Canadian Results:
1. Semen Pavlichenko, RUS, 1:36.288; 2. Felix Loch, GER, 1:36.359; 3. Wolfgang Kindl, AUT, 1:36.472; 4. Alexandr Peretjagin, RUS, 1:36.492; 5. Andi Langenhan, GER, 1:36.544.
17. Sam Edney, Calgary, 1:37.597