BITTERSWEET DAY FOR CANADIAN LUGE ATHLETES IN WORLD CUP OPENER ON OLYMPIC TRACKJust nine months after the Winter Games, Canada's young women's singles and men's doubles luge teams headed back to the Olympic Track in Cesana Pariol, Italy for the opening event on the World Cup circuit Saturday.
With Canadian hopes for a strong performance laying on the sleds of 19-year-old Alex Gough in women's singles and Chris and Mike Moffat in men's doubles, the Canadians were unable to conquer the Olympic beast despite a terrific opening run for Gough, and strong starts by the Moffat brothers.
Calgary's Gough, who is the youngest member of the Canadian squad, stamped some early-season authority on the result sheet loaded with names of the top athletes in the world - many of them nearly twice her age, after posting the seventh fastest time (48.55 seconds) in the opening heat of the two-run race. However, the Canadian teen ran into some troubles early in her second run, and was never able to recover on the challenging lower portion of the track, and crashed in the final corner.
"It was a pretty draining day for our team," said Walter Corey, head coach, Canadian Luge Team. "Alex shocks everyone by putting down one of her best runs ever and then just struggled in corners seven and eight on the second run and couldn't recover. It's too bad, but there are a lot of positives to take away from a day like this and I know she wants to get right back on her sled and get ready for the races in North America."
In men's doubles, the Moffat brothers continued to explode out of the start house, but struggled on the top part of the track in both runs, and couldn't carry high speeds into the lower end of the track. The Moffats, who finished ninth at the 2006 Games, settled for 11th spot on Saturday with a two-run time of one minute 36.849 seconds.
"Chris and Mike continue to be strong off the start and that is obviously very good," said Corey. "Despite making a couple of errors, they aren't far off the pace and can definitely close the gap. We've been having some really solid training over here, and will definitely build from this first race of the season."
The Germans continued their dominance of the women's division, grabbing the first four spots in the standings. Silke Kraushaar-Pielach was first at 1:36.444, while Anke Wischnewski grabbed the silver with a time of 1:36.465 and Tatjana Hüfner was third (1:36.591). The legendary Sylke Otto finished in fourth spot at 1:36.859.
The Italian team of Christian Oberstolz and Patrick Gruber won their fourth World Cup gold medal in men's doubles after clocking a two-run time of 1:36.275 on their home track. Germany's Patric Leitner and Alexander Resch, who hold the track record in Cesana Pariol, won the silver with a time of 1:36.295, while Italy's Gerhard Plankensteiner and Oswald Haelrieder teamed up to finish third (1:36.431).
The Viessmann Luge World Cup continues in Cesana Pariol, Italy on Sunday with the men's singles competition.
The Canadian Luge Association is the governing body for luge racing in Canada. In partnership with CODA, the Canadian Luge Association operates the Olympic Luge Training Centre at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, which develops our nation's high-performance luge athletes and promotes the sport across the country. For more information on the Canadian Luge Association, please visit us at www.luge.ca on the Internet.
Complete Results: www.fil-luge.com
Women's Top-Five Results:
1.Silke Kraushaar-Pielach, GER, 1:36.444; 2. Anke Wischnewski, GER, 1:36.465; 3. Tatjana Hüfner, GER, 1:36.591; 4. Sylke Otto, GER, 1:36.859; 5. Ewelina Staszulonek, POL, 1:36.859.
DNF. Alex Gough, Calgary
Doubles Top-Five Results
1.Oberstozl/Gruber, ITA, 1:36.275; 2. Leitner/Resch, GER, 1:36.295; 3. Plankensteiner/Haselrieder, ITA, 1:36.431; 4. Linger/Linger, AUT, 1:36.456; 5.Schiegl/Schiegl, AUT, 136.544.
Canadian Doubles Results:
11. Chris and Mike Moffat, Calgary, 1:36.849.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Media and Public Relations
Canadian Luge Association