Canadian Men's Luge Double's Team Moves into Third Spot on World Rankings After another strong result
The Canadian men’s luge doubles team of Eric Pothier and Grant Albrecht are beginning to solidify their international position as podium contenders on World Cup, after capturing their second straight fourth-place finish on Friday at the Canadian stop of the Viessmann Luge World Cup in Calgary.
The second strong performance, in as many events, on the young season by Pothier of Airdrie, Alta., and Albrecht of Calgary, moves the Canadian team into a tie for third on the World Cup Luge Rankings.
The two Canucks, who are enjoying their first season together, are ready to make luge history with a podium finish in their grasp, something no Canadian men’s doubles team has ever accomplished. The twosome narrowly missed third spot on Friday by .133 of a second with a total time of 127.613.
"This is both so exciting, yet frustrating," said Grant Albrecht, the front driver of the Canadian duo. "We had so many mistakes in the first run and we were still there with the leaders. We are so focused right now and have the confidence needed to put Canada on the podium for the first time."
Despite some errors in the opening run, the team smashed the old Canadian track record of 44.396, and bettered the task again in their final run, setting the new mark at 43.655.
But it was the German team of Patric Leitner and Alexander Resch who claimed top spot at the event with a time of 1:27.150. The United States pair of Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin claimed second place with a time of 1:27.277, while Germany’s Sebastian Schmidt and Andre Forker were third at 1:27.480.
The International field of 19 sleds smashed the old track record of 44.186 25 times during the competition before Americans Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin set the new mark at 43.564. The winning team on Friday set the old track record last season.
Germany continued their dominance in the women’s competition, winning their 35th consecutive World Cup title after Sylke Otto’s victory on Friday, a feat dating back to 1997.
Otto's victory with a combined time of 1:28.808, marks her 23rd World Cup title, and second straight on Canadian soil. Otto won the World Championships in Calgary last year. The 32-year-old had some close company taking the remaining two spots on the podium. Barbara Niedernhuber and Anke Wischnewski of Germany finished second and third respectively.
Canada's Regan Lauscher of Red Deer, Alta. also had a record-setting day on her home track. The 22-year-old set a new Canadian track record at 44.998, en route to a 10th-place finish in the 26-competitor field with a combined time of 1:30.324.
"One of my goals today was to capture the Canadian track record and I’m excited I was able to achieve it," said Lauscher, who has posted back-to-back top-10 finishes in the opening two races of the season. "What I need to do now is continue working on putting two consistent runs together. With my result in today’s second run, I know I am capable of much better results if I have two solid performances."
Canada’s other young male and female luge athletes gained valuable experience in their second World Cup appearances. Marshal Saville and Winston Davis of Calgary finished 14th in men’s doubles, with teammates Sam Edney and Gwyn Lewis, also of Calgary, one spot back. Canada’s two 16-year-old rookies on the women’s senior team, Calgary’s Monica Gorham and Meaghan Simister, had a strong showing in their second World Cup performance. Gorham secured 19th place, while Simister finished in 22nd position.
The final day of the 2002 Viessmann Luge World Cup takes place on Saturday at Canada Olympic Park with the men’s singles blasting out of the start house at 12 noon. While the legendary Georg Hackly will be competing, the Canadian men will be led by veteran Tyler Seitz and Jeff Christie both of Calgary.
Source: Jennifer Pashniak, CLA
Information: Tim Farstad, CLA-OLTC (403) 616-1397 or firstname.lastname@example.org