Luge Canada


Meaghan Simister pulls new start record en route to 13th-place performanceCanada's Alex Gough drove to her best-ever result after finishing seventh at the Luge World Cup in Winterberg, Germany on Sunday.

The 21-year-old Calgarian, who is competing against athletes nearly 10 years older than her, put together the race of her life by mixing the key ingredients of a winning performance -pulling two solid starts, and completing two consistent runs.

I am very happy and this feels really good. This is what we try to do every week - have two good starts and two consistent runs, said Gough, who has historically done well in Winterberg, which is known as a gliders track. I had been sliding well in training and I knew it was there so I'm happy I was able to pull it off today.

With few mistakes, but far from perfect, Gough blazed down the hard, slick 15 corners of the Winterberg track in a combined two-run time of one minute 53.271 seconds to crack the top-10 for the first time of her career in an extremely tight women's field filled with 24 of the worlds' best luge athletes.

I always enjoy sliding in Winterberg because it suits me. I think I'm good at just letting the sled run, said Gough. We have been doing lots of work on the starts and our constancy, but I definitely can improve on this result because I did still make some mistakes.

Gough's previous best World Cup result was an 11th-place finish on her home track in Calgary. Competing in her fourth season on the World Cup, Gough also represented Canada at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games.

Gough was joined in the women's race by Canada's powerful Meaghan Simister, who continues to demonstrate to the world's best luge athletes her explosiveness out of the start handles. The 22-year-old Calgarian set a new start record on the Winterberg track at 4.919 in her first run.

That first start was absolutely perfect and it was awesome, said Simister. It is a little frustrating that I'm fast at the start and still need to gain experience down the track. But it is going to take time and I cant rush anything.

The 2006 Olympian finished in 13th spot after clocking-in at 1:53.884. Competing in her fifth season on the World Cup, Simister is knocking on the door of being a regular in the top-10 herself.

It shows that training hard in the summer will pay off with strong results in the winter, said Simister. We are still making mistakes and need to continue trying to be consistent.

With the leader of the Canadian women's team, Regan Lauscher, at home recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, Canada's budding women's team have been posting some of the best results of their lives in Europe, regularly placing in the top-15, while pushing each other every week.

This was another solid performance by both of the girls, said Wolfgang Staudinger, head coach, Canadian Luge Team, who has been preaching the importance of consistency. This result today, by both of the girls, shows us what we are capable of doing. But we have to continue to work hard week-by-week and need to maximize our training by minimizing our mistakes.

Regan Lauscher delivered Canada's best-ever finish on the Luge World Cup in 2005 when she won a silver medal in Lake Placid, N.Y.

While the Canadian women continue to edge their way back to the podium, the German women maintained their dominance of the World Cup by sweeping the top-four spots in standings.

Natalie Geisenberger ended a streak of nine-straight World Cup victories for her teammate Tatjana Hüfner on Sunday. Geisenberger clocked the winning time of 1:52.633, while Hüfner settled for the silver medal at 1:52.729. Anke Wischnewski completed the sweep of the medals for the Germans by finishing third (1:52.894).

The Canadian Luge Team will now return home for the holiday break until the World Cup continues in Königssee, Germany, January 3-4, 2009.

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 on the Internet.

Wommen's Top-Five Results:
1. Natalie Geisenberger, GER, 1:52.633; 2. Tatjana Hüfner, GER, 1:52.729; 3. Anke Wischnewski, GER, 1:52.894; 4. Corinna Martini, GER, 1:52.918; 5. Natalia Yakushenko, 1:52.941.
Canadian Results:
7. Alex Gough, Calgary, 1:53.271; 13. Meaghan Simister, Calgary, 1:53.884