Canadian Luge Squad Sixth in Olympic Team Relay
BEIJING, Chn.—Canada’s Luge Team put down three solid runs to combine for a sixth-place finish in the team relay at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing on Thursday.
Canada’s Trinity Ellis (Pemberton, B.C.) was first out of the handles for the red and white before smashing the paddle that hangs over the finish line to clear the track for Reid Watts (Whistler, B.C.). Four-time Olympians, Tristan Walker (Cochrane, Alta.) and Justin Snith (Calgary), in the anchor leg. The Canucks clocked a combined time of 3:05.235.
“I had a little bit of nerves again there at the start, but overall, I’m happy with that run that I put down and really proud of this team,” said Ellis.
The 19-year-old and Watts will be counted on to carry the torch for a new generation of Canadian sliders who officially arrived this week. Competing in his second Olympics, the 23-year-old Watts will leave Beijing with some good vibes having cleaned up his relay run from his final men’s singles performance.
“It was a little redemption tonight. I had a training run yesterday and made a silly mistake so definitely wanted to clean that up. There was still some small mistakes in the upper part but finding perfection on this track is really tough,” said Watts.
Tristan Walker and Justin Snith will slide into retirement having thrown down one of their best runs of the year.
“That is sliding to our ability – a good start with the fastest reaction time which I’d expect from us and a podium in our leg,” said Snith. “We sat down after our doubles race – reviewed things, reorganized and made a game plan for the bottom of the track where we were struggling, and it worked.”
Bolting out of the start handles, the most successful doubles sled in Canadian history posted the third-fastest time in the doubles leg of the race.
“It was a really good run,” stated Walker. “We cleaned up the majority of our mistakes from yesterday. I’m pretty happy with the result today, and even more happy, to just slide the best we could slide. It is nice to end things on a good one.”
The Germans hung on to win the gold medal with a time of 3:03.406 despite a sloppy finish by their doubles sled. Austria slid to the silver medal at 3:03.486, while the Latvians celebrated the bronze medal with a time of 3:04.354.
Tristan Walker and Justin Snith were part of Canada’s historic silver-medal winning relay team at the 2018 Olympics in addition to racking up 17 World Cup medals, and four World Championship medals in the team relay event throughout their career.
Taking their final rip down an icy chute, the Canadian tandem will leave the program in good hands with a talented group of young athletes who have handled the international spotlight with poise.
“That was a fun way to do a farewell for Tristan and Justin,” added Reid Watts. “If you look at the consistency of our younger athletes this week, it shows we have a bright future.”
Canada’s luge athletes will return home, February 13.