Patient Sam Edney Slides to 15th at Luge World Cup in Lake Placid
LAKE PLACID, NY—He is still not in the top form the world witnessed when he departed the sport for a one-year breather, but Sam Edney is making progress in his return to World Cup racing, finishing 15th in Lake Placid, NY on Friday.
The 32-year-old slider showed signs of promise after posting the 10th fastest opening run before dropping five spots in his final trip through the 19 corners on the tricky 1,335-metre track. Edney clocked a two-run time of 1:43.963.
“It felt good to know that top-10 group is still attainable with a strong performance,” said Edney. “I wasn’t thrilled with my second run, but overall I’m feeling good on the sled in training, and still just trying to find the comfort needed on race days to compete with the world’s elite.”
After leading the Canadian program over the last three Olympics including a fourth-place finish in the team relay at the 2014 Games, while also capturing his first career World Cup victory in 2015, Edney stepped away from the sport last year to allow his body to recovery and regroup for the charge to Pyeongchang.
“I didn’t come back expecting to win immediately, but I am also not happy to be back and watching 15 sleds beat me down,” added the Calgarian. “I know I belong in that elite group of 10. My plan this year is to feel out the first half of the season, and find a level of comfort on the sled. I am going to continue to focus on the positives from this week and build on that when I return to Whistler next weekend – a track that I feel confident on.”
American Tucker West was right at home on Friday, winning the men’s singles race with a time of 1:43.088. Russia’s Semen Pavlichenko slid to the silver medal at 1:43.094, while Austria’s Wolfgang Kindl grabbed the bronze at 1:43.182.
In an effort to start developing its NextGen athletes, Luge Canada has brought a handful of young Canucks on the World Cup in the early season. Competing in just his third World Cup race, 18-year-old Reid Watts took advantage of the opportunity to post a career-best 18th-place finish.
The Whistler-based teen, who has been on a steady progression thanks in large part to the world-leading legacy of the 2010 Olympic Games with the Whistler Sliding Centre in his own backyard, clocked-in at 1:44.02. Watts first made headlines last year when he won a bronze medal at the Youth Olympic Games.
Calgary’s Mitch Malyk was the only other Canadian in the men’s field, finishing 26th at 1:44.900.
Meanwhile, it was another tough week for Canada’s doubles sled driven by Tristan Walker and Justin Snith.
Similar to the season-opener last week in Germany, the Calgary-based duo made a costly mistake at the bottom of the track in their first run, plunging them into 12th position.
Pulling the second-fastest start times in both runs, the two-time Olympians clocked the third quickest second-run down time at 44.386 to finish ninth overall at 1:29.043.
“Today was definitely frustrating. We had problems in an area of the track that has been really hard for me to nail down, and it cost us big time,” said the 25-year-old Walker. “Winterberg and Lake Placid have always been tough for us, but our second run is confirmation again that we can be right there. I think the consistency issues will resolve themselves when we get on tracks we are more comfortable with. I’m looking forward to Whistler and our strong starts will be a huge asset there.”
Germany’s Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken finished on top in the pack of the top doubles athletes in the world with a time of 1:28.382. American’s Matt Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman were second at 1:28.545, while Germany’s Johannes Robin Geueke and David Gamm slid to the bronze medal with a time of 1:28.726.
The World Cup continues on Saturday in Lake Placid with the women’s singles race.
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Men’s Singles Results: http://www.fil-luge.org/cdn/uploads/rl2wcmen-8.pdf
Men’s Doubles Results: http://www.fil-luge.org/cdn/uploads/rl2wcdoubles-6.pdf