Luge Canada

Alex Gough Bumped off Podium in Fourth at Luge World Cup in Altenberg

Tristan Walker and Justin Snith post best European result in sixth

 ALTENBERG, Ger.—Alex Gough finished just shy of the podium in fourth spot at the third luge World Cup of the season in Altenberg, Germany on Saturday.

The Calgarian, who has won the bronze medal in the first two races of the season, was on track for the medal hat trick in Altenberg after posting the third fastest opening run down the 996-metre track at 52.420.

Two nearly perfect runs on the Altenberg track were not enough to get the 25-year-old Calgarian onto the podium as a stellar German squad bumped the two-time Olympian into fourth place.

“That was a really strong performance by Alex, but we were up against three super strong Germans today,” said Wolfgang Staudinger, head coach, Canadian Luge Team. “Alex had two really clean runs so we have to be happy. It was really a top notch performance today.”

The Germans swept the women’s podium. Natalie Geisenberger finished on top at 1:44.410. Anke Wischnewski slid to the silver medal, while Corinna Martini Locked up the bronze at 1:44.766.

Three other Calgary-based women hopped on a sled in Altenberg. Kim McRae finished in 11th spot with a time of 1:45.868. Arianne Jones clocked in at 1:46.122, while Jordan Smith placed 21st at 1:46.419.

The Canadian doubles team of Tristan Walker, of Cochrane, Alta., and Calgary’s Justin Snith continued their best-ever start to the World Cup season. After posting back-to-back seventh-place finishes, the 2010 Olympians celebrated Snith’s 21st birthday by chalking up their best-ever World Cup finish in sixth place.

The young Canucks stopped the clock at 1:23.368.

“Right now we are just feeling so comfortable on the sled so we are feeling very confident going down the track,” said Walker. “We did make a couple of little mistakes so we know there is room to get better.”

“Ya for sure to tie our career best is nice to do today,” said the birthday boy Snith, who added the duo were also sixth once in Calgary. “But it is also a little frustrating too because we know we had some problems which easily could have got us into the top-five. Depending on the track, we need to keep working on our starts and we know we can keep getting better.”

Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt clocked a golden time of 1:22.54, while Austria’s Peter Penz and Georg Fischler were second at 1:23.018. Germany’s Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken slid to the bronze medal with a time of 1:23.018.

The strong weekend for the Canadian squad continued in Lillehammer, Norway with the nation’s next generation of Olympians. Jenna Spencer, who is a 16 year old athlete that grew up minutes away from the Whistler Sliding Centre in Pemberton, B.C., slid to the bronze medal in the youth division of the Youth World Cup.

Canada’s first legacy baby of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Spencer was inspired to try the sport five years ago as part of a growing youth program in Whistler when the track was constructed in her own backyard. Spencer became the first athlete on the West Coast last year to qualify for the national women’s youth team. The talented athlete had grabbed the second bronze medal of her career with a time of 1:48.428.

“Training was for the most part successful. I made mistakes and learned from every run with the help of the Canadian and Austrian coaches,” said Spencer. “Being on the podium was a goal, but not expected so I did shock myself a bit. I’m excited to head to Germany and test my skills even more.”

“Jenna’s result aids in the development of the high-performance culture being established in Whistler,” said Walter Corey, high-performance director, Canadian Luge Association, who relocated to Whistler to grow the sport on Canada’s West Coast. “Jenna's accomplishment is an inspiration to our local athletes, and a shared reward with our community of volunteers and partners at the Canadian Sport Centre Pacific and B.C. Sport Alliance.”

The Canadian Luge Association is a not-for-profit organization responsible for governing the sport of luge across the country. With the financial backing of its title sponsor, Fast Track Capital, along with the support from the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, the Canadian Luge Association safely recruits and develops the nations current and future high-performance luge athletes with the goal of regularly climbing onto the international podium. For more information on the Canadian Luge Association, please visit us at on the Internet.

Women’s Top-Five and Canadian Results:
1. Natalie Geisenberger, GER, 1:44.410; 2. Anke Wischnewski, GER, 1:44.533; 3. Corinna Martini, GER, 1:44.766; 4. Alex Gough, Calgary, CAN, 1:44.871; 5. Tatjana Hufner, GER, 1:44.901
Other Canadian Results:
11. Kim McRae, Calgary, 1:45.868; 17. Arianne Jones, Calgary, 1:46.122; 21. Jordan Smith, Calgary, 1:46.419

Men’s Doubles Top-Five and Canadian Results:

1.Tobias Wendl/Tobias Arlt, GER, 1:22.654; 2. Peter Penz/Georg Fischler, AUT, 1:23.018; 3. Toni Eggert/Sascha Benecken, GER, 1:23.218; 4. Vladislav Yuzhakov/Vladimir Makhnutin, RUS, 1:23.258; 5. Andreas Linger/Wolfgang Linger, AUT, 1:23.230
Canadian Results:
6. Tristan Walker, Cochrane, Alta./Justin Snith, Calgary, 1:23.368.