Canada's Alex Gough Wins Bronze Medal at Luge World Cup in Germany
WINTERBERG, Ger.—Alex Gough slid into the history books as the fourth Canadian ever to reach the World Cup podium in the sport of luge. The 23-year-old Calgarian won the bronze medal in Winterberg, Germany on Sunday.
“I am absolutely thrilled. I didn’t have the best week of training but I knew last week in Austria that I could do this,” said the two-time Olympian, who becomes the first Canadian athlete in six years to reach the podium. “I was in a really focused mindset, and wanted to have great starts and clean runs. It was pretty exciting coming up the outrun on my second run knowing that I held my position. It feels great.”
Gough blazed down the Winterberg track in a two-run time of 1:55.411.
The podium finish puts Gough in some prestigious company in Canada’s luge community as she becomes the fourth Canadian ever to reach the World Cup podium in a sport dominated by German athletes. The only other Canadians to reach the podium are: Marie-Claude Doyen (1984 in Sarajevo); Tyler Seitz (2002 Calgary); and Regan Lauscher (2004 Lake Placid). Doyen is the wife to Canadian Luge Team head coach, Wolfgang Staudinger.
“It is definitely an honour to be recognized with that group of athletes,” said Gough, who has been knocking on the door of the international podium over the last three years with three fourth-place finishes including one at the World Championships in 2009. “I have gotten so close a few times and people kept telling me it will come. I definitely wanted to keep pushing forward to see if I could break through, and today is a big step forward for me.”
Gough was swarmed in the top-five by four other Germans who won their 100th World Cup women’s race. Tatjana Hüfner finished on top with a time of 1:54.669, while Natalie Geisenberger was second at 1:55.283.
“This result confirms a lot of hard work for me, but I’m not done,” said the soft-spoken Gough, who was part of Canada’s silver medal victory in the team relay last week in Austria. The team relay is now a recognized event on the Viessmann Luge World Cup.
“I’m still chasing these German girls. I don’t want be content with third. I’m still young and I want to keep getting better.”
With Gough leading the charge, the future of the Canadian luge program, which has substantially improved since the turn of the century with the support of Own the Podium and their lone sponsor Fast Track Capital. Gough’s new World Cup comrade, 20-year-old Arianne Jones, also had another stellar day posting her best result on the World Cup. The Calgary native finished in 11th spot after clocking –in at 1:55.558.
Gough and Jones will return to Calgary on Monday to prepare for the next stop on the World Cup circuit on their home track at Canada Olympic Park. The team will hold a media availability during their training session at 12 noon on Wednesday, before the best luge athletes in the world hit the start house, December 10-11, 2010.
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, 1:54.669; 2. Natalie Geisenberger, GER, 1:55.283; 3. Alex Gough, Calgary, CAN, 1:55.411; 4. Anke Wischnewski, GER, 1:55.509; 5. Carina Schwab, GER, 1:55.662
11. Arianne Jones, Calgary, 1:55.558