Olympians Tristan Walker and Justin Snith Fight for Eighth in Return to Sochi
SOCHI, Rus.—The veterans of the Canadian Luge Team, Tristan Walker and Justin Snith, slid to eighth spot in World Cup luge and their first visit to Sochi, Russia since the 2014 Olympic Games.
The 30-year-old Calgarians battled to one of their strongest results in two years on the 16-corner track, finishing with a two-run time of 1:40.925.
“Eighth isn’t exactly where we want to be, but I can feel pretty good about it after this week,” said Snith. “This was honestly the hardest World Cup week of our career.
“We have had a lot of challenges this week. We kept having to repair our sled which made for long days at the track. We need to give Coach Duncan (Kennedy) a huge amount of credit for giving us the opportunity to even race today. Things weren’t looking good after yesterday’s Nation’s Cup, but he pulled through and the sled was good to go today.”
Equipment challenges aside, the week was made more difficult with it being the Canadians first return to the Olympic Track since two heartbreaking fourth place finishes in both the doubles and team relay competitions at the 2014 Games.
“It’s definitely been a tough week mentally coming back here for myself,” said Snith, who finally triumphed with his Canadian mates, winning the silver medal in the team relay at the 2018 Olympics. “There was a lot of memories here that come back once you are in familiar setting. I think we are both hungry for more here next week. Hoping we don’t break the sled anymore, we get all of our training runs and settle down a bit when it comes to comes our sliding.
“There were a few things that are slowly coming back that we can rely on experience for, especially in the bottom part of the track today,t but it was just a ‘fight it down the hill’ kinda day.”
Latvia’s Andris Sics and Juris Sics set the time to beat at 1:39.783 on Saturday. Russia’s Andrei Bogdanov and Iurii Prokhorov were second at 1:39.903. Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt slid to the bronze medal with a time of 1:40.012.
Canada’s young doubles team of Cole Zajanski and Devin Wardrope enjoyed a solid 14th-place finish. One week after having the race of their lives where they finished eighth at the Olympic Test Event in Beijing, the Calgary-based World Cup rookies chalked up a two-run time of 1:41.718.
In the women’s race, Trinity Ellis of Pemberton, B.C., was the top Canadian in 18th place. The 19-year-old Ellis made her two trips down the 1,384-metre track in a time of 1:41.538. Calgary’s Makena Hodgson also qualified for the women’s race in Friday’s Nation’s Cup test. Hodgson, 21, posted a time of 1:42.996 for 26th spot.
Germany’s Anna Berreiter won the women’s race with a time of 1:40.649. Latvia’s Kendija Aparjode was second at 1:40.756 and Russia’s Viktoriia Demchenko slid to the final step of the podium after stopping the clock at 1:40.917.
The World Cup continues on Sunday in Sochi with the men’s singles and team relay events.
Complete Results in Sochi: https://www.fil-luge.org/en/multimedia/eberspaecher-world-cup-9
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