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Canadians Snowed Out of Medals at Luge World Cup in Germany

Tristan Walker and Justin Snith Slide to Fifth in Doubles, Alex Gough sixth, Kim McRae 11th in one-run women’s singles race

KONIGSSEE, Ger.—Mother Nature was the winner as the Viessmann Luge World Cup resumed in Konigssee, Germany on Thursday.

Battling through heavy snow and fog, Canada’s doubles team slid short of the podium in fifth place, while Alex Gough was the top Canuck in the women’s singles race where she placed sixth.

“It was just an absolutely chaotic day for weather. We have had extreme snowfall all day, can’t really drive anywhere, the track is full of snow. They swept the track every three sleds today. If you were lucky, you had a fast track and if you were unlucky it was snowy and slow. It is what it is. At the end of the day we are an outdoor sport and this happens sometimes,” said Wolfgang Staudinger, head coach, Canadian Luge Team.

Conditions aside, Canada’s doubles sled of Calgary-based Tristan Walker and Justin Snith matched their best result of the season in fifth place. The 25-year-olds clocked a two-run time of 1:42.842 down the 11-corner track.

“We have to be happy with fifth but there is more possible there with the doubles,” said Staudinger. “They had a great week of training and I know they can definitely be on the podium if we clean up a few of the small mistakes.”

Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt remained unbeaten in Konigssee, posting a golden time of 1:41.575. Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken, also of Germany, were second at 1:41.645, while Robin Johannes Geueke and David Gamm completed the sweep of the doubles podium for Germany after sliding to a combined time of 1:42.357.

Mother Nature would not relent as the top women’s luge athletes hit the start line in the afternoon. After completing the first run, and the first 10 sleds of the second heat, race officials conceded to the weather, declaring it a one-run race.

“The conditions just got really bad with the snow,” added Staudinger. “They were able to pull through the one run, but eventually the track was filled with snow, the fog rolled in and the athletes couldn’t see anymore so they cancelled that second run. On a day like this I just look at the sliding and not the results. We had good starts and good sliding down the track so we’ll put this behind us and move on.”

Sliding into the holiday break on a three-medal streak, Alex Gough, ploughed through the snow for a sixth-place finish. Clocking the fifth-fastest time off the start, the 29-year-old Calgarian moved into medal condition midway down her run, but dropped to sixth in the final portion of the track, finishing with a time of 51.713.

Calgary’s Kim McRae made the best out of a tough day, sliding to 11th place with a time of 51.839.

Germany’s Natalie Geisenberger won the women’s race with a time of 51.178. Russia’s Tatyana Ivanova was second at 51.329, while Germany’s Tatjana Huefner was clocked a third-place time of 51.433.

The Viessmann Luge World Cup continues on Friday in Germany with the men’s singles and team relay event.

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.

Doubles Results: http://www.fil-luge.org/cdn/uploads/rl2wcdoubles-7.pdf

Women’s Singles Results: http://www.fil-luge.org/cdn/uploads/rlfinal.pdf