Luge Canada

Moffat brothers continue comeback of luge World Cup circuit with Olympic qualifying performance
-Calgary duo recor

Media AdvisoryThe comeback to the luge track is complete for Calgary brothers Chris and Mike Moffat, who slid to a strong eighth-place finish in doubles action Sunday and sewed up their qualification for a return to the Winter Olympic Games next February in Torino, Italy.

"It's kind of a blast from the past for us," said Chris, 26, who along with brother Mike, took a three-year hiatus from the sport after competing in the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. "We knew coming back this year that we had a big job ahead of us. We went in with the mindset of 'If we go to the Olympics, we go to the Olympics,' but we ended up developing a lot quicker than we thought. Now that we've hit our stride, we know we can constantly push the top-five guys."

The top-five, incidentally, is terrain familiar to Chris from his previous journey to the Olympic Games. At Salt Lake City in 2002, with then doubles partner Eric Pothier, Chris slid to fifth place in the doubles event to post Canada's best ever Olympic luge result, and recorded a 14th-place finish in the men's singles discipline as well.

Younger brother Mike, meanwhile, posted a 12th-place finish at Salt Lake City with then doubles partner Grant Albrecht. During his three years away from the track, the 23-year-old began working towards his Bachelor of Justice degree and worked as a caseworker at a Calgary halfway house and as a contract officer with the Calgary Parole Board.

The strong finish in Altenberg arrives one week after the Moffats posted a sixth-place finish in Cesana Pariol, Italy, in their first World Cup race in more than three years - a result that equaled Mike's previous best result on the senior circuit. The sibling duo slid into eighth-place Sunday after sledding down the track in times of 42.62 and 42.63 seconds, for a two-heat total of 1:25.28.

A heaping of the hometown advantage propelled local favourites Sebastian Schmidt and Andre Forker to top spot on the podium in the doubles event. The German tandem set a new single-run record on their home track with 42.56 seconds and clinched the gold medal with an aggregate time of 1:24.61. Silver-medal honours went to the Italian duo of Christian Oberstolz and Patric Gruber, who raced down the track in a two-heat total of 1:24.71. Rounding out the top finishers were reigning Olympic champions Patric Leitner and Alexander Resch of Germany, who captured the bronze with a time of 1:24.74.

In the women's event Sunday, Canada's Regan Lauscher slid to her third consecutive top-15 placing of the 2005-06 campaign. The Red Deer, Alta. native accrued a time of 54.20 seconds on both of her trips down the track, for a two-heat total of 1:48.40 and 14th place.

The mark was a drop from the result Lauscher slid to in Altenberg last year, when she posted a seventh-place finish. However, with the 2006 Winter Games on the horizon, the 25-year-old has lately been experimenting with different equipment to optimize her performance.

"My start times were good and there definitely were positives today," said Lauscher. "The desire to go fast never goes away, but right we're making sure we're covered equipment-wise so we're prepared for every single scenario in February." Following close behind Lauscher was 19-year-old Regina native Meaghan Simister, who clocked in at 1:48.95 over two runs for 16th place. Calgary native Alex Gough, 18, a newcomer to the senior luge circuit, slid into 19th spot with 1:50.16.

The German team continued its stranglehold on the podium in the women's event, with Tatjana Hufner celebrating her first World Cup gold medal of the season. She set the standard for the day with a two-run combined time of 1:46.59, while 1998 Olympic champion Silke Kraushaar claimed silver after clocking in at 1:46.70. Rounding out the top sleds was a third German competitor, Anke Wischnewski, who recorded 1:46.73 en route to bronze medal honours.

The Canadian Luge Team next returns to its home track at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, site of the fourth stop on the Veissmann Luge World Cup tour. The races take place on December 9 and 10.

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 on the Internet.

Doubles Top-Five Results: (16 Sleds)
1.Sebastian Schmidt and Andre Forker, GER, 1:24.61; 2. Christian Oberstolz and Patric Gruber, ITA, 1:24.71; 3. Patric Leitner and Alexander Resch, GER, 1:24.74; 4. Tobias and Markus Schliegl, AUT, 1:24.76; 5. Andreas and Wolfgang Linger, AUT, 1:24.86.

Canadian Doubles Results:
8. Chris and Michael Moffat, Calgary, 1:25.28.

Women's Top-Five Results: (23 Sleds)
1.Tatjana Hufner, GER, 1:46.59; 2. Silke Kraushaar, GER, 1:46.70; 3. Anke Wischnewski, GER, 1:46.73; 4. Sylke Otto, GER, 1:46.76; 5. Sonja Manzenreiter, AUT, 1:47.38.

Canadian Women's Results:
14. Regan Lauscher, Red Deer, Alta., 1:48.40; 16. Meaghan Simister, Regina, 1:48.95; 19. Alex Gough, Calgary, 1:50.16; Madison Dupuis, Calgary, DNF.

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Chris Dornan
CODA, Communications Specialist
C: 403-585-0254