Luge Canada

Edney sets Canadian record; Loch wins gold
By Kristina Rutherford
Posted Sunday, February 14, 2010

Calgary's Sam Edney slid to a best-ever Olympic finish in Canadian men's singles luge history on Sunday at the Whistler Sliding Centre, placing seventh.

The 25-year-old eclipsed the previous Canadian record of 11th, and saved his best for last in front of the hometown crowd, clocking the third best run of the day (48.373s).

Edney was sitting in 10th heading into Sunday's two final runs, but with two solid starts and smooth runs, he moved up three spots in the overall standings.

Germany finished one-two, with reigning and two-time world champion Felix Loch winning gold and David Möller earning silver.

At age 20, Loch is the youngest Olympic men's singles luge champion in history. He also became the youngest World Champion in the sport's history at age 18.

"It's important for Germany to have won its first gold in men's luge in 12 years," said Loch.

Reigning Olympic champion Armin Zöggeler of Italy won bronze and tied an Olympic record for most luge hardware in the process. The medal is his fifth at an Olympic Games, which ties German George Hackl for the most ever in luge.

Zöggeler edged Russia's Albert Demtschenko - the 2006 Olympic silver medallist - for the bronze medal, clocking a combined time of 3:14.375, 1.290s behind Loch.

Vancouver-born Jeff Christie finished 14th overall, clocking a four-run time of 3:15.823. The 27-year-old also placed 14th at the 2006 Olympics.

"I've had two Olympics, two 14ths," Christie said. "I made it down, I did my four runs, I'm okay with it."

Calgary's Ian Cockerline finished 20th, turning in his best time on his final run (48.781s). It was the second Games for the 25-year-old, who competed in 2006 but crashed on his final run and did not finish.

"That was fabulous, I'm very happy," Cockerline said. "It's the opposite of what happened in Torino. I feel like I've finally done it now."

Edney finished with a total time of 3:14.840. Before his seventh place, Canada's best at the Games was 11th from both Bruce Smith (1980) and Kyle Connelly (2002).

It's Edney best finish on a stage this big. He placed 19th at the 2006 Games, and his best World Championship finish was 9th in 2008.

While Edney was able to move up three spots in the standings after Day 1 of competition, Loch's placing never wavered. He led the field from start to finish through all four runs, and finished 0.679 seconds ahead of teammate Möller.

The pair celebrated on the track with the German flag after the race as cowbell-toting, flag-waving Canadians cheered them on.

"The crowd definitely made the event," said Cockerline. "They turned it into something spectacular."

For the second straight day, the men began from the ladies' start - dubbed 'Men's Olympic start' - in the wake of Friday's tragedy that saw Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili killed in a horrific training accident.

Flags will be at half-mast at the Whistler Sliding Centre for the duration of the Games to honour the 21-year-old Georgian.