Canada's Lauscher Makes History Winning Silver Medal at Luge World Cup
-Canuck nearly ends German women's luge vic
The 25-year-old Red Deer, Alta. native led the world's best after posting a time of 45.041 in the first run, and held on to the silver medal position with a combined time of 1:30.409.
"I'm still in shock but this feels great," said the seven-year veteran of the Canadian Luge Team. "I always liked this track and it is one the Europeans don't like so that gave me extra incentive right from the start. I was training okay this week, but I just told myself sitting in the start handles today to put everything behind me and focus on having two solid runs. It is just a great day."
Only one other Canadian female luge athlete has reached the podium in World Cup history. Marie Claude Doyen finished third in a World Cup women's singles event at Sarajevo in 1987. Tyler Seitz of Calgary is the only Canadian male to reach the World Cup luge podium when he stepped onto the bronze medal position in 2002 on his home track in Calgary at Canada Olympic Park.
It appeared Lauscher was not only going to claim Canada's best ever World Cup finish, but also be the first woman to knock off the Germans in 50 races after she led by .10 of a second heading into the final run. It took the fastest run of the day by Germany's Barbara Niedernhuber (44.773) to keep the streak alive, and claim the 51st straight gold medal for the country in women's luge. Italy's Anastasia Oberstolz-Antonova rounded out the top-three at 1:30.465.
"I had to take a double check when I saw the one beside my name after my first run," said Lauscher, who admitted to having nerves in between runs while sitting in an unfamiliar position. "Everyone around me told me to relax and just do it. I would have absolutely loved to have been the one to end the German streak, but you have to give credit to Barbara for moving up eight spots in the second run. She slid well and I'm still thrilled."
Lauscher, who has been the lone Canadian woman on the World Cup until last season, has been posting steady results during the early World Cup campaign. The 2002 Olympian charted her best European result in the opening event of the season when she finished seventh in Germany, and will be looking to head back to the podium next week when the world's elite luge athletes head to Calgary.
"I was telling everyone this week I was so excited to be heading home and slide on our track in Calgary because my season has been going well to this point," said Lauscher, who anticipated Calgary being her best chance to claim her first World Cup podium. "Now coming off a podium performance, you can't get me home fast enough. I have a lot of confidence now and hopefully I'll be able to stay in the groove and be in the top three next week as well."
Other Canadian women's results on Saturday included: Madison Dupuis of Calgary in 20h (1:32.719)); and Meaghan Simister of Calgary (DNF). Calgary's Jeff Christie was the top Canuck in the men's competition. Christie posted a time of 1:49.552 to finish in 18th. Calgary's Jorgen Krause was the only other Canadian male finishing 29th (1:54.091). Canada's doubles teams were also in action on Saturday, with Grant Albrecht of Red Deer, Alta. and Eric Pothier of Airdrie, Alta., joining up to finish 10th, while World Cup rookies, Sam Edney and Gwynn Lewis of Calgary finished 13th.
Lauscher will lead the Canadian luge squad home to Calgary next week with the silver medal around her neck for the Viessmann Luge World Cup, December 6-11, 2004. The team will hold a media conference at 11:30 a.m. in the Ice House at Canada Olympic Park on Tuesday, December 7.
COMPLETE TEAM RESULTS: www.fil-luge.org
Women's Singles Top-Five and Canadian Results:
1.Barbara Niedernhuber, GER, 1:30.262; 2. Regan Lauscher, Red Deer, Alta., CAN, 1:30.409; 3. Anastasia Oberstolz-Antonova, ITA, 1:30.465; 4. Natalia Yakushenko, UKR, 1:30.547; 5. Anke Wischnewski, GER, 1:30.552.
Other Canadian Women Results:
20. Madison Dupuis, Calgary, CAN, 1:32.719; DNF - Meaghan Simister, Calgary, CAN.
Men's Top-Five Singles and Canadian Results:
1.David Möller, GER, 1:48.002; 2. Tony Benshoof, USA, 1:48.169; 3. Armin Zöggeler, ITA, 1:48.292; 4. Jan Eichhorn, GER, 1:48.490; 5. Denis Geppert, GER, 1:48.538.
Other Canadian Results:
18. Jeff Christie, Calgary, CAN, 1:49.552; 29. Jorgen Krause, Calgary, CAN, 1:54.091.
Men's Top-Five Doubles and Canadian Results: Please Visit www.fil-luge.org
The Canadian Luge Associaton 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.