Canada's Luge Athletes Win Silver Medal in Team Competition at Junior Luge World Cup
A quartet of Calgary-based athletes, including Tristan Walker, Justin Snith, Stefan Rath and Arianne Jones, teamed up to capture the silver medal in the opening team event of the season after posting a combined-time of two minutes 24.939 seconds.
It was an awesome day and really cool to be part of this win for Canada, said Stefan Rath, who drove the men's singles sled in the team event. Each one of us had really good runs and we are really happy with our performance.
In an effort to make luge racing more exciting for teams and spectators, the International Luge Federation introduced the team competition three years ago. Every team consists of a doubles team, one female and one male sled, who each complete one run for a combined final time.
Canada has had success in the team format at the World Cup level, finishing second overall in 2007. The senior team competition consists of a relay-type system that has athletes tagging off on a flag at the finish, which in turn opens the gate at the start for the next team member. Strategy comes into play as the coaches communicate over radio to make sure the next athlete is ready to go as soon as the get opens.
While the Canadians were thrilled with their silver-medal position on the podium on Friday, it was the Germans who embraced the gold medal on their home track with a time of 2:22.721. The Latvians rounded out the podium in third at 2:25.397.
I was thinking back and I can't remember a day this good for the junior luge team since 2004 on our home track in Calgary, said Kyle Connelly, head coach, Canadian Luge Team, and 2002 Olympian. As a coach, I couldn't ask for anything more out of the team. It was a great day and I'm very happy for the athletes.
While Connelly was pleased with the silver medal, it was the consistent sliding by the young Canucks in the individual racing where they stacked four sleds in the top-10 in junior women's, youth women's and doubles competitions that had Canadian luge officials optimistic about the future of the program.
Tristan Walker and Justin Snith, who won a bronze medal two weeks ago together in Italy, held on for a fourth-place finish on the German track in men's doubles. The Canadian duo posted a time of 1:33.341. The German tandem of Nico Walther and Nico Grünneker took home the gold at 1:32.549.
In junior women's racing, it was Denae Delcourt and Arianne Jones who put the maple leaf in the top-10. Delcourt was seventh (1:38.829), wile Jones finished 10th (1:39.176). Germany's Carina Schwab was first at 1:36.281.
In youth A women's racing, Kimberly McRae narrowly missed the podium in fifth spot after posting a time of 1:35.557 and Elena Corrigall was seventh. Jordan Smith, of Calgary, was 18th at 1:37.412. Germany's Aileen Frisch completed the golden sweep for Germany in all divisions with a time of 1:33.698.
We have a solid mix of athletes at the junior level that are making positive steps forward, which demonstrates a promising future for our program, said Walter Corey, high-performance director, Canadian Luge Association. It is nice to see us competitive with the leading countries at the junior level, and we have some strong athletes in the program. But we need to continue to recruit so we have a pool of great athletes to continue to develop through the system.
The Junior Luge World Cup continues in Königssee, Germany on Saturday.
The Canadian Luge Association is the governing body for luge racing in Canada. 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.