Kim McRae laid down a blistering second run to become just the second Canadian to ever win an individual medal at the luge world championship.
Competing on the Igls track that hosted the Olympic competition at Innsbruck in 1964 and 1976, McRae came back from 10th place after the first run, which had left her 0.132 seconds back of teammate Alex Gough who was holding onto third place.
“It’s pretty incredible. After that first run I thought I had no chance,” McRae told Luge Canada about her costly mistake when she slid too early into corner nine. “It honestly didn’t cross my mind at all that I could be a medallist today heading into the last run. I was two-tenths behind and just thought I was out of it.”
But the two Canadians reversed results in the second run. McRae was the fastest woman out of the gate and maintained third-place positioning the entire way down, finishing with a two-run total time of 1:19.952. Germany’s Tatjana Huefner won the gold (1:19.712) ahead of American Erin Hamlin (1:19.925). Gough finished fifth overall in 1:20.001.
“The start honestly has been the big difference for me this year,” said McRae. “We worked really hard on it in the summer. I have been healthy throughout this year body wise so I have really been able to push it body wise and it is definitely showing. I didn’t do anything major different in the second run. I just put down the same runs as training all week, let the sled run and it worked out.”
McRae’s trip to the world championship podium in the women’s singles event follows those of Gough, who made the first breakthrough with a bronze medal in 2011 before adding a second bronze to her trophy case in 2013.
Standing on the world podium should give McRae a nice boost of confidence heading towards PyeongChang 2018. She was most impressive in her Olympic debut in Sochi where she finished fifth, beating Canada’s previous best ever result and placing just one spot behind Gough. Earlier this season McRae won silver at the World Cup stop in Lake Placid.