Canada’s Kim McRae Celebrates Bronze Medal in Return to Viessmann Luge World Cup
Canadian Luge Association – CALGARY—Hours after celebrating the storybook careers of Alex Gough and Sam Edney, Kim McRae accepted the torch from Canada’s most decorated luge athletes and carried it onto the bronze medal step of the podium at the Viessmann Luge World Cup in Calgary on Saturday afternoon.
“It is incredible. I didn’t actually think this was possible. I just wanted two consistent runs today, and to be on the podium. To continue where Alex left off last year is incredible,” said the 26-year-old McRae, who was competing in her first race of the season.
A fifth-place finisher at the last two Olympics behind her friend and mentor, Gough, Calgary’s McRae took advantage of the fast home ice to rocket down the 14-corner track at Winsport’s Canada Olympic Park in a two-run time of 1:33.512 as the world’s best struggled with the conditions.
“It was really hard ice today. I could even feel it sliding at the start so I think that threw people off today. It was so different than what I’ve been sliding on, so I was in the same boat as everyone,” added McRae.
It was the fourth World Cup medal for the friendly Canuck, and first on the Olympic Track in Calgary. Her previous best in the Stampede City was a fourth-place finish last year.
McRae and Gough have been glued at the hip during an incredible ride over the last eight years. They have twice shared the World Cup podium and are the only two Canadian luge athletes to win a World Championship medal in singles racing. McRae slid to a bronze at World Championships in Igls, Austria two years ago.
Racing a condensed schedule of just three races during the post-Olympic year while juggling nursing school at Mount Royal University and training, McRae turned to Alex Gough to help set her up for her return to the World Cup in Calgary.
“Alex has been a tremendous help to me. I was so panicked about a month ago, so we sat and had dinner and Alex said ‘Just calm down. I did the same thing (going to school and training). I had the same feelings then and made it through and you can too,’ said McRae, who added Gough also came out to slide and coach her over the last two weeks when the team was on the road at the first two stops of the World Cup circuit.
“I don’t even know how to sum up what Alex means to me. She has been there with me through it all. We’ve pushed each other through to the last two Games. I’m going to really miss having her around, but I know she will continue to be a tremendous help to me.”
McRae shared the podium with two German athletes. Julia Taubitz slid to the gold with the fastest time in both heats, finishing at 1:33.408. Natalie Geisenberger placed second at 1:33.512.
Two more young Canucks also slid into the top-15 on Saturday. Shadowed by McRae’s podium performance was a solid 10th-place finish by Canada’s World Cup rookie, Carolyn Maxwell. The 18-year-old Calgarian mixed it up with the top names in the sport, punching the clock at 1:34.153.
Calgary’s 19-year-old Brooke Apshkrum also put down her best World Cup performance, sliding to 13th place. Apshkrum, who was 13th at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, stopped the clock at 1:34.403.
Canadians Slide to Sixth in Viessmann Team Relay World Cup Presented by BMW
The magic ran out for the young Canadian luge squad in the team relay competition.
Kim Mcrae, Reid Watts (Whistler, B.C.), along with Olympic medallists from Calgary, Justin Snith and Tristan Walker combined for a sixth-place finish with a time of 2:22.109.
Germany won the relay with a time of 2:21.550. The Americans were second at 2:21.819, while the Austrians rebounded from a difficult week in Whistler to claim the bronze medal with a time of 2:21.920.
The relay is a one-run bomb race that starts with one women’s sled, followed by men’s singles and then the doubles. Athletes hit a paddle that hangs over the track past the finish line to clear the track for the next slider with the clock still running.
McRae and her Canadian mates will now hit the road as the Viessmann Luge World Cup travels east to Lake Placid, New York. The only other event McRae will compete in this year will be the 2019 World Championships.
The Canadian Luge Association is a not-for-profit organization responsible for governing the sport of luge across the country. With the financial backing of from the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, the Canadian Luge Association safely recruits and develops the nation’s current and future high-performance luge athletes with the goal of regularly climbing onto the international podium. For more information on the Canadian Luge Association, please visit us at www.luge.ca on the Internet.
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