Canada’s Tristan Walker and Justin Snith Narrowly Miss World Cup Luge Podium in Fourth
OBERHOF, Ger.—It is a position they are all too familiar with, and one that can be the most frustrating – finishing fourth. But on Sunday in Oberhof, Germany, Canada’s Tristan Walker and Justin Snith had nothing but smiles following the Luge World Cup doubles race.
In a funk for most of the year to this point, the 24-year-old Calgary-based duo put down their season-best performance on a track they have had little success at throughout their careers. The Canadians clocked a two-run time 1:23.047 on the highly technical, old fashioned, 12-corner icy chute.
“It’s good to be back to where we think we are supposed to be and especially nice to have this turnaround happen right before World Championships,” said Justin Snith. “The key I believe was just the preparation that went into this week both at the track, and away from it. We simplified everything and got back to the little things that needed to be done. Nothing special – just keeping things simple.”
With only one fifth-place finish on their home track in Calgary to boast about this year, the team and coaches had a brief meeting earlier in the week to help spark a turnaround.
“We know the potential was there, and the guys may have just needed a little kick in the pants to shape up,” said Wolfgang Staudinger, head coach, Canadian Luge Team. “They showed today – if they have two clean runs – they are in the game and with the best in the world. We all know consistency was missing in the past races, and if they are consistent they can be right there. The proof is in the results today. It was a good day and they are on the upswing at the right time heading into World Championships.”
Fourth has traditionally been a heartbreaking place for Canada’s best-ever doubles luge team. They were crushed with finishing fourth twice at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, finished just off the podium at the 2013 World Championships and have been fourth a total of five times now on the World Cup. But when the heat is on, the feelings are different.
“This result is huge – there is no way around that,” added Snith. “We needed it to keep our seeding in order to get a good draw for Worlds, but also, it shows that we are still right there with the guys on the podium if we put down two consistent runs.”
The Canadians finished a half second from the podium. The Germans grabbed the top-two spots on the podium. Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt set the golden pace at 1:21.713 while clocking the fastest times in both runs. Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken were second at 1:22.322. Austria’s Peter Penz and Georg Fischler edged out the Canucks for the bronze medal after punching the clock at 1:22.450.
“We actually started off the week with one of our best runs ever here so that was a huge confidence booster for us,” added Snith. “We didn't risk too much in our sled setup and I think that confidence we gained over the course of the week really showed during the race.”
The Canadian Luge Team now heads to a Konigssee, Germany for international training week in advance of 2016 World Championships set for the final week of January.
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 from the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, the Canadian Luge Association safely recruits and develops the nation’s 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 www.luge.ca on the Internet.
COMPLETE RESULTS: www.fil-luge.org
Doubles Top-Five and Canadian Results:
1. Wendl/Arlt, GER, 1:21.713; 2. Eggert/Benecken, GER, 1:22.322; 3. Penz/Fischler, AUT, 1:22.450; 4. Walker, Cochrane, Alta./Snith, Calgary, CAN, 1:23.047; 5. Sics/Sics, LAT, 1:23.059