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CANADA'S ALEX GOUGH SLIDES INTO FOURTH PLACE AT LUGE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN LAKE PLACID

American Erin Hamlin ends German's 11-year luge winning streak on home track in New YorkCanada's Alex Gough added another chapter to a story book season on Friday after finishing fourth at the Luge World Championships in Lake Placid, N.Y.

The 21-year-old Calgarian, who sat in fifth spot after the opening run, showed the poise of a wily veteran after putting down one of the fastest runs of the second and final heat to post the best-ever World Championship result in the history of the Canadian luge program. Gough's clocked a two run time of 1:28.615.

I am absolutely thrilled, said Gough following the awards ceremony, who struggled in training this week. I had two of my best runs of the week. I just told myself at the beginning of the day - this is sport, have fun and put it down and I did.

Struggling to crack the top-15 on the Luge World Cup during the first three years of her career, Gough has blazed a trail to the top of the international standings this season with five top-10 finishes, including two seventh-place results.

I have had a lot of breakthroughs that are beyond just my results by figuring out different aerodynamics and things, said Gough. But the key is I have gained a lot of confidence this season and now being so close to the podium, I am really hungry to get there. I'll definitely be going for it over the next two races but I'm not getting ahead of myself and will treat them like any other race.

Earlier this season, Gough's head coach, Wolfgang Staudinger, compared her sliding style to the legendary German athlete, Sylke Otto. While still years younger than her World Cup opponents, Gough has been a model of consistency over the first eight races this season.

I just feel that I'm starting to figure it out and I think it shows if we follow what Staudie (Wolfgang Staudinger) says, then we will have good results, said Gough earlier this season. You don't have to be perfect, but with two consistent runs and fast starts we can slide with the best. Our team believes the Germans who have been dominant for so long are now within striking distance.

Erin Hamlin, of the United States, proved that is definitely true. The American ended one of the longest winning streaks in competitive sports by taking the World Championship title on her home track in Lake Placid. Sitting in first after the opening run, Hamlin saved her best for last when she slid to a track record in her second run at 43.985, and a combined winning time of 1:28.098.

Heading into Friday's race, the German women had won more than 85 consecutive World Cup, World Championship and Olympic races that began in 1997.

Natalie Geisenberger, of Germany, was forced to settle for second spot at 1:28.285, while Natalia Yakushenko, of the Ukraine, was in the bronze medal position on the podium at 1:28.334.

Two other Canadian women also suited up in the World Championships. Regan Lauscher, of Red Deer, Alta., who continues to rebuild after double-shoulder surgery earlier this year, to finish in 15th (1:29.676), while Calgary's Meaghan Simister was 18th (1:29.813).

Earlier in the day, the world's top doubles luge athletes also competed. Chris and Mike Moffat, of Calgary, finished as the top Canadians in 10th spot at 1:29.007.

Gerhard Plankensteiner and Oswald Haselrieder, of Italy, won the World Championship doubles title with a two-run time of 1:27.401.

The World Championships continue on Saturday with the men's singles races.

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. Erin Hamlin, USA, 1:28.098; 2. Natalie Geisenberger, GER, 1:28.285; 3. Natalia Yakushenko, UKR, 1:28.334; 4. Alex Gough, Calgary, CAN, 1:28.615; 5. Julia Clukey, USA, 1:28.622.
Other Canadian Results:
15. Regan Lauscher, Red Deer, Alta., 1:29.67; 18. Meaghan Simister, Calgary, 1:29.813

Men's Doubles Top-Five Results:
1. Plankensteiner/Haselrieder, ITA, 1:27.401; 2. Florsch├╝tz/Wustlich, GER, 1:27.458; 3. Grimmette/Martin, USA, 1:27.611; 4. Oberstolz/Gruber, ITA, 1:27.881; 5. Leitner/Resch, GER, 1:27.992.
Canadian Results:
10. Chris Moffat and Mike Moffat, Calgary, 1:29.007

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