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Youth Olympics: Reid Watts wins 1st medal for Canada

Reid Watts won Canada’s first medal at the Youth Olympic Games, earning bronze in the men’s luge event Sunday in Lillehammer, Norway.

Whistler, B.C., native earns bronze on 2nd day of competition

Full highlights of the men's luge at the Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway. 4:00

Reid Watts, 17, won Canada's first medal at the Youth Olympic Games, earning bronze in the men's luge event Sunday in Lillehammer, Norway.

Watts, from Whistler, B.C., raced to a time of 1, 35.994 seconds.

"This is absolutely awesome. I'm super excited about this," said Watts. "I really felt that if I had two really good runs, I could be on that podium. I put down two consistent runs, and I did it.

"It is so special for me to represent my country, but to win the first medal for Canada at the Games so far is even more exciting. I hope the entire Canadian team here can build on this and we are able to celebrate many more in the next week."

Kristers Aparajods of Latvia won the event in 1:35.309, while German Paul-Lukas Heider captured silver in 1:35.955.

Watts sat in fifth spot after his opening run down the flowing 12-corner track that played host to the 1994 Olympic Winter Games. But resilient Watts, who endured a broken boot during the opening run, rallied to a podium finish after posting the second-fastest final run.

"I came to this track last year for junior world championships and I really struggled," he said. "It is more of a gliding track and not very technical so it was one of the more challenging tracks for me on the circuit," said the 17-year-old high-achieving Grade 11 student who rocked the second-fastest start times in both heats.

"It is hard to be fast on these tracks, but I came back here this week and just focused on having fun and putting together two solid runs and things changed for me. I am super excited right now."

Watts' best finish prior to Sunday's bronze-medal effort was a ninth-place showing at the Youth World Cup event in 2014. 

Here's how other Canadian athletes fared on Sunday:

Mixed curling

  • Canada def. Sweden, 5-3
  • Canada def. Norway, 4-2

Figure skating

Ice dance short program

  • Marjorie Lajoie (Longueuil, Que.), Zachary Lagha, (Saint-Hubert, Que.), 5th

Freestyle skiing

Women's halfpipe

  • Mackenzie Wilson (Whistler, B.C.), 5th

Men's halfpipe

  • Evan Marineau (Calgary), 7th

Snowboard

Women's halfpipe

  • Kira Lengkeek (Airdrie, Alta.), 6th
  • Baily McDonald (Barrie, Ont.), 17th

Alpine skiing

Women's combined slalom

  • Amelia Smart (Invermere, B.C.), 8th

Biathlon

Men's 7.5km sprint

  • Ben Churchill (Calgary), 17th
  • Leo Grandbois (Lennoxville, Que.), 22nd

Women's 6km sprint

  • Gillian Gowling (Calgary), 30th
  • Tekarra Banser (Kelowna, B.C.), 35th

With files from Luge Canada

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