ALTENBERG, Germany — Alex Gough was fourth in the women's race before leading her Canadian mates to the same finish in the second team relay of the luge World Cup season on Sunday in Altenberg, Germany.
"Of course, you always want to be jumping onto the podium, but I look at those fourth-place finishes and it tells me I'm right there," said the 30-year-old Gough. "The performance and equipment is good and if I can put it together I will be there."
Gough, the most successful Canadian luge athlete ever, clocked a two-run time of one minute 44.807 seconds on the 1,220-metre Altenberg track. Slow out of the gates relative to traditionally quick starts, the three-time Olympian battled back to climb one spot in the standings after clocking the fifth place time in the opening blast down the 15-corner track.
The second fourth-place finish of the season for Calgary's Gough, she will look to build on clocking the third-fastest time in her final heat on the tricky Altenberg track where she has one career podium.
Gough finished behind three German women. Natalie Geisenberger won the race with a time of 1:44.241. Tatjana Huefner slid to the silver medal at 1:44.398, while Dajana Eitberger edged out Gough for bronze with a time of 1:44.733.
Calgary's Kim McRae finished 16th at 1:45.763.
Gough got another crack at the track when she and her fellow Canadians headed back to the women's start house for the team relay.
Posting another fourth-place time in the opening leg of the relay, Calgary's Mitch Malyk held the Canadians in fifth spot before smashing the green paddle at the finish to clear the track for the doubles sled of Tristan Walker and Justin Snith. The Canadian tandem once again clocked the quickest reaction time, but struggled to bring the sled home, leaving the Canadians off the podium in fourth at 2:23.558.
The relay is a one-run bomb race that begins with a women's sled, men's singles sled followed by a doubles sled. Athletes hit a paddle that hangs over the finish line of the track to open the gate for the next competitor.
The Germans also celebrated the gold in the relay with a time of 2:22.644. The Austrians celebrated the silver medal, while the Italian team secured the final spot on the relay podium after stopping the clock at 2:23.115.
The Associated Press