Canadian Luge Athletes Strike Gold in Team Competition at World Cup in Austria
A strong season of summer training and early results, Canadas luge athletes joined forces on Sunday to win their first-ever gold medal in a World Cup team relay competition in Igls, Austria.
Canadas team consisting of Calgarys Alex Gough, Sam Edney and brother tandem of Chris and Mike Moffat, stomped some authority on the international field after clocking a combined time of two minutes 10.864 seconds, nearly one second ahead of the second-place Austrians.
The team competition was just awesome today, said the 25-year-old Edney, who posted his best-ever World Cup result last week where he was fifth in Calgary. It puts the emphasis on the start and reaction time at the start and we are very strong there. It is a race that is a one-run bomb, but you are working together as a team and that is a lot of fun.
The team competition consists of one female, one male and one doubles team, who each complete one run for a combined final time. In an effort to make the event more exciting for the teams and spectators, the FIL introduced the relay-type system that had the athletes hitting a pad 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.
This is very important measuring stick for us because it demonstrates the overall performance of a nation, and we are always right in the hunt for the medals in the team event, said Wolfgang Staudinger, who added the International Luge Federation has been trying to get the team format into the Olympic lineup in the future. I put a lot of stake in measuring our split times in this event and see where we stack up. This result shows if we slide well we are capable of doing great things.
Austria finished second behind the Canadians with a time of 2:11.868, while Latvia was third with a time of 2:12.094. The German squad was disqualified for failing to hit the button at the finish to open the start gate properly.
Canada has been showing capable things with athletes sliding their way into the top-10 over the first two weeks of competition. Yesterday, Alex Gough posted another career milestone with a fourth-place finish in womens singles.
I can tell you our tendencies are so clear right now, added Staudinger, who had the chance to sing the Canadian National Anthem for the first time at a World Cup event since being recruited to lead the red and white from Germany three years ago. It is a question of time for us and it is going to happen. We just need to keep working hard and I believe it will come.
Canada has enjoyed great success in the team format. Three years ago the Canadians finished second overall on the World Cup after winning a silver and bronze medal.
Earlier in the day, the Canadian men also participated in the World Cup singles race.
Forced to adjust to a start time that was moved up by two hours to get the race in before heavy winds rolled through the Igls track, the Canadians rebounded after a shaky first run.
A skid out of corner nine put Edney well back of the pack, but he regrouped to post the fastest run of the day, 48.163, in the second heat to move himself into 18th spot with a two-run time of 1:38.463.
I was just shaky coming out of the corner, but Staudie (Wolfgang Staudinger) and I discussed what I was thinking and we made some adjustments to the sled for my second run and it was awesome, said Edney, who is a 2006 Olympian. This just tells me with two consistent runs I know that I can be there with the best. I now believe in what I can do, and I know I can do it.
Calgarys Jeff Christie also suited up on Sunday finishing in 21st spot at 1:38.637.
Italys Armin Zöggeler captured his second-straight World Cup victory with a time of 1:37.988. Wilfried Huber, also of Italy, was second at 1:38.085, while Russias Viktor Kneib locked up the bronze medal with a time of 1:38.091.
The Canadian Luge Association is the governing body for luge racing in Canada. The Canadian Luge Association is responsible for developing our nations high-performance luge athletes and promoting the sport across the country. For more information on the Canadian Luge Association, please visit us at www.luge.ca.
Complete Results: www.fil-luge.org
1.Canada, 2:10.864; 2. Austria, 2:11.868; 3. Latvia, 2:12.094; 4. United States, 2:12.267; 5. Ukraine, 2:12.358
Mens Singles Results:
1. Armin Zöggeler, ITA, 1:37.988; 2. Wilfried Huber, ITA, 1:38.085; 3. Viktor Kneib, RUS, 1:38.091; 4. Felix Loch, GER, 1:38.123; 5. Reinhold Rainer, ITA, 1:38.137.
18. Sam Edney, Calgary, 1:38.463; 21. Jeff Christie, Calgary, 1:38.637