Canadian luge team named for 2018 Winter Olympics
6 veterans, pair of rookies focused on completing unfinished business
The Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Luge Association announced the five men and three women who will hit the start handles at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang.
"We are assembling a group, who over the last four years, have demonstrated they can deliver under the most intense pressure and perform at the highest level," said Tim Farstad, executive director, Canadian Luge Association. "A mix of veteran leadership with youthful energy and drive will guide this fiercely determined team who dream of playing their part of contributing to Team Canada's medal count."
Three-time Olympians Alex Gough (Calgary) and Sam Edney (Calgary), the most successful athletes in the history of the program, will lead the group of eight vying to gain thousandths of a second over their competition to win the top honours.
A winner of 25 World Cup and two world championship singles medals, Gough was fourth in women's singles and in relay at Sochi 2014. She will be joined by 2014 Olympic teammate, Kim McRae (Calgary), who was fifth in Sochi. McRae is a winner of three World Cup singles medals and a bronze at the 2017 world championships. Brooke Apshkrum (Calgary) will make her first trip to the Games. The 18-year-old won a gold medal at the Lillehammer 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
Edney headlines men's team
Edney headlines the Canadian men in singles racing. Since a heart-breaking fourth-place finish in the team relay at the Sochi Games, Edney became the first Canadian male to win a World Cup race in 2014 and claimed bronze at the World Cup test event in Pyeongchang last season. Just two weeks ago, he added a World Cup silver in Calgary.
He will be joined by Mitch Malyk (Calgary), who has helped Canada win multiple World Cup medals in the team relay and is coming off a fourth-place finish at a recent World Cup in Calgary. Eighteen-year-old Reid Watts (Whistler, B.C.) will make his Olympic debut. Leading the next generation of Olympic luge athletes, Watts captured the bronze medal at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
"Anytime you go to the Olympics is a realization of a dream," said Edney. "Having the opportunity to even pursue this dream, and have the chance to compete for a medal, is something few ever get to experience once, let alone four times, so I feel incredibly privileged to have the opportunity to continue chasing this dream for Canada with so many supporters behind me.
"We have a hungry group of athletes that have achieved success at so many levels in our sport. We feel strong and confident that the work has been put in over the last few years, and know that we can now compete with the powerhouse nations in the world of luge. For me personally, I plan on making the most of this opportunity."
Tristan Walker (Cochrane, AB) and Justin Snith (Calgary), who slid to their third career World Cup medal last week in Lake Placid, NY, will be the lone doubles sled.
Each of the six Olympians have all helped Canada win World Championship and World Cup medals in the team relay over the last four years. Canada finished fourth in the spectator-friendly event which made its Olympic debut in Sochi.