It was a record-setting day for Canada at the FIL Luge World Championships, which kicked off Friday (Feb. 1) in Whistler.
Tristan Walker and Justin Snith finished fourth for Canada’s best finish ever in doubles at a world championships, while Sam Edney slid to fifth place in men’s singles for another Canadian best.
With a two-run, combined time of one minute, 13.346 seconds, the 21-year-old Walker and Snith finished less than one-tenth of a second off the podium. They sat fifth after the opening run but had the third-fastest second session to move up one position.
“Honestly, I’m really happy with the result,” said Walker. “Even with the mistakes we made on the first run, there’s nothing we could have done more to push for that next spot. I think we slid pretty much as well as we could slide today and I’m really happy with it.”
Canada’s previous best in doubles at a world championships came back in 2001, when Mike Moffat and Grant Albrecht placed sixth in Calgary.
Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt, the World Cup leaders from Germany, won their first world championship title and first medal at the event since taking silver in 2008. They finished in 1:12.842 to earn the title on Friday.
Germany also took home the silver, with Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken placing second, while Austria’s Andreas and Wolfgang Linger finished third.
By finishing fifth, Edney beat his seventh-place finish from last year’s world championships, which was Canada’s previous best at the event in men’s singles.
“This is my home track and I feel like I know it better than I know myself sometimes,” said Edney. “My sliding was really on it today.”
The 28-year-old was agonizingly close to the medals, finishing just two-hundredths of a second out of third place.
“It feels really good to be that close to those guys,” said Edney. “To be right in there with the Germans, I knew that’s what I needed to do — pull some good starts to be there — and that’s kind of what I need to now focus on for the next year leading up to the Games.”
German sliders finished in the top four spots, with Olympic and defending world champ Felix Loch taking the gold. Andi Langenhan earned the silver while bronze belonged to Johannes Ludwig. The other Canadians in the field, John Fennell and Mitchel Malyk, placed 24th and 25th, respectively.
The world championships conclude Saturday with the women’s and team relay races.