Canada's Moffat brothers looking to slide back into top-five form
-Doubles luge duo posts 12th-place result in thi
"In a nutshell, we were pretty disappointed with the result today," said Mike Moffat, who, at age 23, is the younger of the brotherly sliding tandem. "Our last four results have not met our expectations."
The duo, comprised of Michael and older brother Chris, 26, took the luge circuit by storm early in the 2005-06 campaign by posting three consecutive top-eight results in their first three World Cup races in more than three years. However, they have struggled to find the top-10 since posting an impressive sixth-place result on their home track in Calgary last December.
Along with fellow doubles sliders Grant Albrecht and Eric Pothier, the Moffats will carry the Canadian flag onto the luge track in Torino, Italy next month for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Both brothers competed in the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, with Chris posting Canada's best ever Olympic luge result, a fifth-place finish, with then doubles partner Pothier. Michael, meanwhile, slid into a 12th-place finish with former partner Albrecht, a native of Red Deer, Alta., in 2002.
With their sights now set on Torino, the Moffats are returning to the launching pad of their comeback. On November 19, 2005, in their first race in more than three years, the brothers slid into a sixth-place finish on the technically harrowing new Olympic track to definitively announce their return to the sport.
"We know we're fast on the Torino track, no question," said Michael. "If our sled's running properly and everything comes together, there's no reason why we shouldn't be top-five."
The Moffats recorded a two-run time of 1:23.435 on Saturday, while Albrecht and Pothier recorded a 16th-place finish after clocking in at 2:10.554.
The German contingent finished one and two on the doubles podium, with the tandem of Andre Florschutz and Torsten Wustlich posting a time of 1:22.317 en route to the gold medal. Fellow countrymen Patric Leitner and Alexander Resch sledded to the silver medal with 1:22.336. Spoiling a potential German sweep of the podium were Christian Oberstolz and Patrick Gruber, with the Italian team taking the bronze in a two-heat time of 1:22.380.
In women's sliding action Saturday, Red Deer, Alta. native Regan Lauscher, who last season won Canada's first ever World Cup silver medal in luge, concluded the campaign with a 14th-place showing after posting a two-run time 1:23.867.
"I was pretty competitive and fast all week in training, so it was a bit disappointing not to finish higher," said the 25-year-old, who garnered her personal best start time on her first journey down the track. "My focus now is on the Olympics; it's such a competitive field that anything can happen on any given day."
The women's podium was also draped in the German flag, with luge veterans Sylke Otto and Silke Kraushaar sliding into the first and second spots, respectively, with times of 1:22.519 and 1:22.568. Rounding out the top sleds was Ukrainian competitor Natalia Yakushenko, who posted a time of 1:22.936 en route to the bronze medal.
World Cup luge action continues tomorrow in Oberhof with the men's singles event.
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.
For complete results, see www.fil-luge.org
Women's Top-Five Results (23 sleds):
1.Sylke Otto, GER, 1:22.519; 2. Silke Kraushaar, GER, 1:22.568; 3. Natalia Yakushenko, UKR, 1:22.936; 4. Barbara Niedernhuber, GER, 1:22.949; 5. Veronika Halder, AUT, 1:23.094.
Canadian Women's Results:
14. Regan Lauscher, Red Deer, Alta., 1:23.867.
Doubles Top-Five Results (16 sleds):
1. Andre Florschutz and Torsten Wustlich, GER, 1:22.317; 2. Patric Leitner and Alexander Resch, GER, 1:22.336; 3. Christian Oberstolz and Patrick Gruber, ITA, 1:22.380; 4. Tobias and Markus Schiegl, AUT, 1:22.519; 5. Andreas and Wolfgang Linger, AUT, 1:22.621.
Canadian Doubles Results:
12. Chris and Mike Moffat, Calgary, 1:23.435; 16. Grant Albrecht, Red Deer, Alta., and Eric Pothier, Airdrie, Alta., 2:10.554.