Tristan Walker and Justin Snith of Canada take a practice run during the doubles luge training at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. Veteran Canadian lugers Justin Snith and Tristan Walker are finding the job of mentoring the next generation of athletes a little bit difficult to accept. (Michael Sohn/The Associated Press)

Germans, Austrians sweep medals at luge World Cup in Whistler

Germany’s Felix Loch finished 0.099 seconds behind Austria’s Wolfgang Kindl

Track records were smashed Friday as German and Austrian lugers swept the medals at the latest World Cup event in Whistler, B.C.

Austrian Wolfgang Kindl captured gold in the men’s singles with a combined two-run time of one minute, 39.774 seconds.

The 30-year-old said he loves competing on the Whistler track because it’s flatter at the top, giving him a unique advantage.

“I’m not the fast-start guy, so it’s a bit of a special victory for me today,” he said, explaining that he’s better at the areodynamic aspects of the sport so he can pick up speed later on in a race.

“I was just feeling confident on the sled today, just everything was perfect.”

Kindl also broke the track record for men’s singles with a 49.837-second run. The previous record of 50.109 seconds was set in December 2016.

Germany’s Felix Loch finished 0.099 seconds behind Kindl, good enough for a silver medal. Reinhard Egger of Austria took bronze with a time of 1:39.901.

Reid Watts was the highest-placing Canadian, finishing 22nd after a disappointing second run.

“I was at the start, feeling good, really motivated to push for a top-10. But just instantly, right off the top, had that left drift and that just set me off,” said the 19-year-old.

“Huge mistake and from there, at the top, there’s no hope for gaining that speed at the bottom.”

The Whistler native was competing in front of friends and family on a track that holds a special place for him.

Ten years ago this week, Watts tried luge for the very first time at the sliding centre.

“It’s really something. It’s really incredible how far I’ve come,” said the young athlete, who placed 12th in the event at the Winter Olympics last February.

Friday’s competition was also special for German luger Toni Eggert.

The 30-year-old climbed back to the top of the podium in the doubles event less than seven weeks after breaking his leg in a training accident.

Eggert and his partner Sascha Benecken took gold with a combined two-run time of 1:16.691.

Winning so soon after the accident was special, Eggert said.

He attributed his climb back to the track to good rehab, saying he was able to get around with a walking cast just three weeks after he was injured.

German teams swept the doubles medals on Friday, with Robin Johannes Gueke and David Gamm coming in second and Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt winning the bronze.

Wendl and Arlt also shattered the track record with a 38.292-second run. The previous record was 38.542, set in February 2013.

Canadians Tristan Walker and Justin Snith took fifth place with a combined time of one minute, 16.875 seconds.

Finishing off the podium was “a little disappointing,” Walker said, but he noted that the team is still looking to adjust to some new equipment.

At the first World Cup event of the season in Austria last week, the Canadians placed 12th. Walker said the adjustments they made in Whistler were a little bit too conservative, costing them time in their first run.

“We’re trying to find a balance. We kind of went too far the opposite way on our equipment set up than we were last week,” he said.

The three-time Olympian said this season is about finding the best way to work with their new set up.

“It’s a long ways away from an Olympics, so it’s not too much of a worry right now,” he said.

The Canadian pair said they were happy to be competing on home soil.

A few dozen spectators lined the end of the track, including several who waved Canadian flags and cheered loudly as Walker and Snith came down the track.

“We wish the result was a little bit better here today,” Snith said. “Here’s hoping we get what we want next week (on the circuit’s next stop in Calgary).”

The Whistler event is the second stop on this year’s World Cup tour, and will continue Saturday with women’s singles and the team relay events.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Horgan says Surrey mayor opened ‘hornets’ nest’ with Surrey policing transition

Surrey election battle heating up over Doug McCallum’s controversial cop transition

OUR VIEW: Way too many Surrey COVID-19 cases

We all need to take this threat seriously

‘Illegal’ Canadian crab traps, fishing gear seized in U.S. waters near White Rock

Investigation continues after joint operation between Canadian, American authorities in Boundary Bay

OPINION: It’s Time for Surrey to be Heard

Which party will listen to Surrey voters?

COVID-19 exposures at Surrey schools: An updated list

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Return-It depots change beverage container deposits from 20 to 10 cents

Change will be implemented on Oct. 1, with a transition period being held until Oct. 11

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Young man assaulted, left for 12 hours until help called in Vancouver’s Strathcona Park

Vancouver police are looking to identify the victim as they investigate an assault on Monday evening

Most Read