SIGULDA, Latvia (from Canadian Luge Association) — A costly mistake on the second run dropped Alex Gough to ninth place in the final World Cup women’s singles luge race before the Olympic Winter Games in Sigulda, Latvia on Saturday.
Fast out of the gate in both runs, the leader of the Canadian women’s team was in the medal mix until the error in her second run dropped her down the standings with a time of 1:24.603.
Gough posted lightning-quick splits in both runs until the midway point down the track where she struggled to the finish line. Sitting in sixth spot after her first descent, the 30-year-old Calgary native had the second-fastest final run time until a huge error killed her speed and her chances of a podium.
“The speed is definitely there in our sleds, but we just made too many unnecessary mistakes and that was the difference in the results,” said Wolfgang Staudinger, head coach of the Canadian luge team.
Calgary’s Kim McRae also hit the start line. Sitting in eighth after her first trip down the track, she dropped three spots when all was said and done to finish 11th with a time of 1:24.641.
“Today was another tough race, but I feel like I was making small improvements this week and sliding finally felt closer to what I know,” said McRae. “I still have some things to work on, but overall, I am very excited for Korea.”
Russia’s Tatyana Ivanova won the race with a time of 1:23.989. Germany’s Natalie Geisenberger was second at 1:24.076, while Italy’s Sandra Robatscher slid to third place at 1:24.360.
Calgary’s Brooke Apshkrum did not finish the race.
Canada’s doubles team of Tristan Walker and Justin Snith also struggled on the bottom portion of the track en route to a 12th-place finish with a time of 1:24.317.
A big mistake in the first run put them well back of the leaders, but the Canadians made up three spots after a solid second run.
“Overall I am very positive with where we are at. The tracks we have been sliding at over the last three weeks – we just simply don’t have the run volume other teams get here,” said Staudinger. “This explains the results and it does not make me nervous. I think we are in a good place.”
Germany’s Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken struck gold with a time of 1:23.364. Latvia’s Andris Sics and Juris Sics snagged the silver medal at 1:23.419, while Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt of Germany claimed the bronze medal at 1:23.590.
The final Viessmann Luge World Cup race of the season takes place on Sunday with the men’s singles and team relay events.