ALEX GOUGH READY TO STING LIKE A BEE WHILE CRACKING TOP-10 AGAIN ON LUGE WORLD CUP
The 21-year-old Calgarian, who struggled to find her way into the top-15 last year, has bolted her way up the international rankings and posted her third top-10 performance of the year with her second career-best seventh-place finish this season - this time on the Olympic track in Cesena, Italy on Saturday.
It is so rewarding to have all of the hard work start to pay off and it definitely makes me hungry for more, said Gough after clocking a two run time of 1:35.383.
Gough's seventh-place finish also made her the first Canadian to beat one of the dominant German sliders in a race this season after posting one of the fastest times of the day in the second heat.
I just feel that I'm starting to figure it out and our team believes the Germans who have been dominant for so long are now within striking distance, said Gough. I think it shows if we follow what Staudie (Wolfgang Staudinger) says, then we will have good results. You don't have to be perfect, but with two consistent runs and fast starts we can slide with the best.
Gough, along with the rest of the Canadian team has been a work in progress since new head coach Wolfgang Staudinger took over control of the national team from Germany more than a year ago.
Alex is doing really well and has the potential to sting like a bee out here on the World Cup, said Staudinger, who compared Gough's sliding style to the legendary German slider, Sylke Otto. We have a structure in place and this shows the system works. She is the first sign of success from all of the hard work we have been doing, but we cannot go crazy either and have to continue to work hard. I said when I started. I'm not creating miracles. We are going to follow the system and the system will work.
Gough was joined in the women's race by two other Canadians. Calgary's Meaghan Simister, who also posted some of the strongest results of her career prior to the holiday break, finished in 14th spot (1:36.063). Regan Lauscher, who had surgery to both of her shoulders in the off-season, continues to rebuild her strength to slide back into the elite pack on the World Cup. The Red Deer, Alta. native posted a combined time of 1:36.183 to put her in 15th place.
We now have nice internal competition within our team and shows all of the athletes that if we do the job, good things are possible, said Staudinger, who also enforced the importance of the Canadian team needing access to a rebuilt start ramp in the Ice House at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary to give the team a competitive advantage over the rest of the world. We are moving in the right direction, but need to continue to hold onto the reigns and control our journey and not get ahead of ourselves.
With miles of work still to go, Gough and her teammates continue to chase down the dominant German women who captured the top-two spots on the podium. Tatjana Hüfner claimed her 14th World Cup victory with a time of 1:34.699, while Natalie Geisenberger was second at 1:34.967. Austria's Nina Reithmayer slid into the bronze-medal position with a time of 1:34.967.
Canada's Chris and Mike Moffat also continue to find their strength to slide up the World Cup standings after taking the first half of the season off to recover from injuries. The Calgary brothers finished 11th in just their second race of the season in men's doubles after stopping the clock at 1:34.497.
Christian Oberstolz and Patric Gruber won the men's doubles race on their home track in Italy after setting the time to beat at 1:33.687. Gerhard Plankensteiner and Oswald Haselrieder, of Italy, were second (1:33.704), while Andris and Juris Sics, of Latvia, grabbed the bronze medal with a time of 1:33.854.
The Luge World Cup continues on Sunday in Cesana, Italy with men's singles racing.
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.
COMPLETE RESULTS: www.fil-luge.org
Women's Top-Five Results:
1. Tatjana Hüfner, GER, 1:34.699; 2. Natalie Geisenberger, GER, 1:34.757; 3. Nina Reithmayer, AUT, 1:34.967; 4. Natalia Yakushenko, UKR, 1:34.991; 5. Maija Tiruma, LAT, 1:35.106
7. Alex Gough, Calgary, 1:35.383; 14. Meaghan Simister, Calgary, 1:36.063; 15. Regan Lauscher, Red Deer, Alta., 1:36.183
Men's Doubles Top-Five Results:
1 Oberstolz/Gruber, ITA, 1:33.687; 2. Plankensteiner/Haselrieder, ITA, 1:33.704; 3. Sics/Sics, LAT, 1:33.854; 4. Linger/Linger, AUT, 1:33.929; 5. Wendl/Arlt, GER, 1:33.931
11. Chris Moffat and Mike Moffat, Calgary, 1:34.497
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