Young and inexperienced would have been the two most likely adjectives to describe Justin Snith and Tristan Walker when they made their Olympic debuts at Vancouver 2010. At 18-years-old, they were two of the youngest members of the Canadian Olympic Team and they were the youngest doubles team in the field. They hadn’t yet competed at a senior world championship but placed 15th of the 20 sleds competing.
When they were teamed together by a coach, Snith was a little reluctant. He had gotten into luge because it was an individual sport and he wanted to do something where he only had to rely on himself. But his mind was changed after they won a bronze medal in their very first Junior World Cup event in Park City, Utah. They had only been training together for a couple of weeks and at 16 it was decided that they could have a promising future in doubles. They went on to win bronze at the 2009 World Junior Championships.
Snith and Walker have shown gradual improvement since Vancouver 2010 and had the best year of their careers in 2012-13. They posted top-10 results in each of their World Cup starts, highlighted by fourth place finishes at Lake Placid and on the 2014 Olympic track in Sochi. They also finished fourth at the 2013 World Championships in Whistler, placing behind two German teams and the Austrians who won Olympic gold in 2010. That result also made them the 2013 Under-23 World Champions.
Snith and Walker will be aiming for the podium at Sochi 2014, especially in the team relay which will be part of the Olympic program for the first time. They helped Canada win silver at the 2013 World Championships following bronze in 2012.
2013 World Silver Medallist (team relay)… 2012 World Bronze Medalllist (team relay)… 4th at 2013 World Championships (doubles)… 2013 U23 World Champion (doubles)… 2009 World Junior Bronze Medallist (doubles)… World Cup bronze medallist (doubles)… World Cup Bronze Medallist (doubles)
Getting Into the Sport: Began sliding at age 10 after his parents signed him up for ski jumping, biathlon and luge camps at Canada Olympic Park… He settled on luge because it was faster than ski jumping… Luge Partnership: Snith is on the bottom while Walker lies on top of him… Walker does most of the steering with his legs while Snith uses his shoulders to smooth out the sled on corners… The two are good friends off the track and know when the other needs space… Walker actually attended Snith’s recruitment camp so they joke that Walker recruited him… Odds and Ends: Enjoys playing guitar, writing music and skiing… When he was 12 he went to Canada Olympic Park to watch the announcement that Vancouver would host the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and told his dad he would go to the Olympics… Favourite Olympic memory is walking into the Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony… Always travels with a Canadian flag… Collects beer glasses and mugs during his travels…