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Canadian Luge Athletes Team Up to Win Bronze Medal at World Cup Relay in Germany

Meaghan Simister leads Canadian charge with 10th-place finish in womens singlesALTENBERG, Ger. - Canada's luge athletes continue to prove they can contend with the world's best after winning a bronze medal in the team relay competition at a World Cup stop in Altenberg, Germany on Sunday.

Canada's team consisting of Calgary's Alex Gough, Sam Edney and brother tandem of Chris and Mike Moffat, put the maple leaf on the podium for the second straight week after combining to post a time of two minutes 26.941 seconds. The trio of Canadian sleds teamed up to win the gold medal in the first relay of the season last weekend in Austria.

That was another exceptional performance by our team and shows us we are right up there with the best countries in the world, said Wolfgang Staudinger, head coach, Canadian Luge Team. Our sport believes this will be an Olympic race in the near future and people are taking it very seriously. It tells me we are on track and can compete for the podium.

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. I put a lot of stake in measuring our split times in this event and see where we stack up. Again, this result shows we are capable of doing great things.

The powerful German luge athletes finished on top of the podium with a time of 2:25.742, while the Americans were second at 2:26.680.

Earlier in the day, the Canadian women also participated in the World Cup singles race.

Calgary's Meaghan Simister led the way for the Canadians after matching her career-best World Cup result with a 10th-place finish. One of the most explosive starters in the world, the 23-year-old put down her two most consistent runs of the year to post a combined time of 1:48.897.

That was a very solid performance by Meaghan with two really good starts and two good runs, said Staudinger of Simister who was unavailable for comment as the team was travelling. Meaghan has huge potential because she pulls starts like the World Champion and that is a huge advantage. We need to continue working on her sliding and that takes time and experience.

Simister, who had two 10th-place finishes last year at the Whistler Sliding Centre and in Oberhof, Germany, also finished ninth at the 2008 World Championships.

Two other Canadian women also suited up on Sunday. Calgary's Alex Gough, who has emerged as a podium contender, struggled to find the appropriate steels for her sled to accommodate changing weather from cold to rain which cost her time on her first run. Gough finished 12th at 1:48.975. Regan Lauscher, of Red Deer, Alta., continues to rebuild strength in her start, but put down two solid runs to finish in 14th spot at 1:49.034.

The German's dominated the World Cup women's event once again taking the top-four spots in the standings. Tatjana Hüfner captured the gold medal with a time of 1:47.555, while Natalie Geisenberger was second at 1:47.744. Anke Wischnewski completed the podium sweep with a bronze-medal time of 1:47.994.

The Canadian Luge Team will now head home for a week of training at the Whistler Sliding Centre, culminating with the Canadian Championships on December 17, 2009.

The Canadian Luge Association is the governing body for luge racing in Canada. The Canadian Luge Association is responsible for developing our nation's 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
Team Results:
1. Germany, 2:25.742; 2. USA, 2:26.680; 3. Canada, 2:26.941; 4. Latvia, 2:26.947; 5. Austria, 2:27.135.

Top-Five Women's Singles Results:
1. Tatjan Hüfner, GER, 1:47.555; 2. Natalie Geisenberger, GER, 1:47.744; 3. Anke Wischnewski, GER, 1:47.994; 4. Corinna Martini, GER, 1:48.425; 5. Erin Hamlin, USA, 1:48.522.
Canadian Results:
10. Meaghan Simister, Calgary, 1:48.897; 12. Alex Gough, Calgary, 1:48.975; 14. Regan Lauscher, Red Deer, Alta., 1:49.034.

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