Canadian lugers confident heading to Vancouver


Alex Gough is Canada’s best chance for a medal in Olympic luge  and will aim to build upon the solid year she’s already had.

That includes sitting seventh in the World Cup standings, highlighted by two races where she finished fourth.

Going back and remembering why she slides in the first place,  Gough credits her recent success to strictly focusing on the basics of the sport.

“It’s run by run — pull fast starts, have clean, consistent runs, then I know I can finish in a position I can be happy with,” she told the Canadian Press.

If one of those positions is to be on the Olympic podium then Gough will have to get through the German trio of Tatjana Hüfner, Natalie Geisenberger, and Anke Wischnewski.

Some observers believe these three women will sweep the podium this year due to their first, second, and third place finish in the world cup standings.

Hüfner and Geisenberger especially look formidable because they have jostled between first and second in the standings all year long with no other woman in sight to challenge them.

On the men’s side, Samuel Edney is the Canadian to watch for, looking very confident after having the best World Cup season of his career.

“In past years I’ve shown glimpses that I can do this, but I think I’ve been hesitant,” Edney told the Canadian Press. “This year I’ve gone into it really just planning to have a consistent year and slide to my ability.”

Edney, who had two top 10 finishes this season, will need to continue the career year he has had so far if he hopes to spoil the Olympic dreams of medal favourites Armin Zöggeler of Italy, Albert Demtschenko of Russia and German Felix Loch.

Zöggeler is coming into these Games seeking his third consecutive Olympic gold medal after finishing the season strong winning his fifth consecutive World Cup title and the ninth of his career.

Demtschenko, who won silver at the 2006 games, and Loch finished this year’s World Cup season second and third.

As for the doubles, veteran sliders Chris and Mike Moffat will once again be the best hope Canada has at a podium placement in the event.

In order for this to happen however, the brothers will have to move on from a disappointing World Cup season where they finished 15th in the standings, with only one top 10 finish.

“That’s the worst possible start to the season we could have asked for,” Mike Moffat told the Calgary Herald at the first race of the season.

They ended up finishing 16th in that race, foreshadowing the lack of success that they would face all season long.

Instead of dwelling on what transpired this season, the Moffats should instead look at the success they have had at the past two Olympics where they finished fifth in Salt Lake City and ninth in Turin.

However, if they hope to finally break onto the podium, they will be heavily tested by five teams with very real medal aspirations.

The teams include Germany’s Patric-Fritz Leitner and Alexander Resch, Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt, and the World Cup champion pairing of André Florschütz and Torsten Wustlich.

Italy’s Christian Oberstolz and Patrick Gruber, and the defending Olympic champion team of Andreas and Wolfgang Linger of Austria are the other two teams with a great chance at a medal.

These five teams have stacked up very evenly with each other all season with only an average point gap of about 18 separating the teams.

The luge event will be held at the Whistler Sliding Centre, a venue made specifically for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics to hold the luge, bobsleigh, and skeleton events.