Canada’s gritty luge athletes poised for Sochi

The only Canadian team to own both a cow and children’s book dedication is officially set for Sochi.

Soon to be three-time Olympians Sam Edney and Alex Gough will join 2010 veterans Tristan Walker and Justin Snith as well as first timers Kimberly McRae, Mitchel Malyk and John Fennell on the 2014 team.

“It’s such an honour with all the hard work and sacrifice that goes into the three years that lead up to an Olympic Games to feel that moment when they call your name. It’s a moment you can’t really describe,” said Edney after the announcement.


All but Tristan Walker list their hometown as Calgary, Alberta. He’s from Cochrane, home of famous Mackay’s Ice Cream.

And like the dairy farmers or cattle ranchers who call Alberta home, there’s something downright honest and hard-working about the group.

This fall, the Canadian Luge Association put the team “up for sale”, searching for a new title sponsor. So far, the effort has banked one cow from a local ranching family, and luge was the subject of a children’s literacy project leading to a cash donation.


But more importantly, the team has done their job on the track. The fall World Cups have seen 26-year-old Alex Gough continue to assert herself as a podium talent. She has two bronze and one silver.

The men’s doubles team of Tristan Walker and Justin Snith has been close to the medals, and adding their consistent leader Sam Edney along with Gough, the team relay has netted two silver medals. That event will debut in Sochi.

COC Photo: Mike Ridewood

The success of the veterans does two things. It gives hope for a medal in Sochi, most likely in the team relay, but perhaps from Gough. And it inspires the younger members of the team to look at Canadian luge and be proud.

“It’s a little bit overwhelming with everything that’s going on, the gravity of the situation is starting to sink in and it really feels good to be part of the Canadian Olympic team.” said 18-year-old John Fennell.

The team will continue on the World Cup tour after the holiday break.