As part of our countdown to Sochi 2014, Olympic.ca is showcasing 14 Canadian medal contenders in 14 weeks. Each week we take a look at an Olympian with a chance of reaching the podium for Canada come February.
This week we look at…
Gough, Edney, Walker and Snith
On April 6, 2011, the International Olympic Committee announced that the luge team relay would be a go in Sochi. This decision gave Canada another chance for a trip to the podium. Alex Gough, Samuel Edney, Tristan Walker and Justin Snith – all from Alberta – could deliver for Canada a luge team relay medal at its event debut in the Olympic Winter Games.
What makes them a medal contender?
Canada has never won a medal in luge. You may have to read that sentence again, but yes, luge as an Olympic sport has provided 13 winters of discontent for the Red and White.
That could change in February because Gough, Edney and the doubles team of Walker and Snith have made reaching the podium a habit in the last two World Luge Championships.
In 2012, the Canadians finished third behind German and Russian teams in the relay at Altenberg, Germany. A year later, in front of a Canadian crowd on a faster track in Whistler, the foursome took silver, finishing more than a full second ahead of third place.
Individually, Gough took bronze in the women’s singles at Whistler, while Walker/Snith finished fourth in the doubles, Edney was fifth behind four Germans in the men’s singles.
Sochi will be the first time that a fourth luge event is included in the calendar. While Germany will always be the favourite (winning 70 of the 117 Olympic medals awarded in luge since its inclusion in 1964), thanks to Gough, Edney, Walker and Snith, Canada has reasons to be optimistic on its 14th attempt at an Olympic luge medal.
UPDATE: On November 24, 2013, Gough, Edney, Walker and Snith won silver in the first team relay World Cup event of the season at Igls, Austria (near Innsbruck).
The team relay competition is comprised of a woman, a man and a doubles pair. There is an overhanging touch pad near the finish line that each competitor must touch to open the start gate for the next teammate.