Young Canadian Luge Athletes Slide to Fifth in Team Relay at Beijing Test Event
—Canadian teenager, Trinity Ellis, storms into 10th in women’s singles race—
BEIJING, Chn.—A new generation of Canadian luge athletes caught the world’s attention with a fifth-place finish in the team relay competition at the Olympic Test Event on the Beijing track Sunday.
Canada’s 19-year-old from Pemberton, B.C., Trinity Ellis, set the tone for the red and white after clocking the fifth-fastest opening run down time before smashing the paddle hanging over the finish line to clear the track for Olympians Reid Watts (Whistler, B.C.) and then three-time Olympians, Tristan Walker (Cochrane, Alta.) and Justin Snith (Calgary), in the anchor leg.
“It felt so good to be back racing after so long, and I really missed the World Cup,” said Trinity Ellis, who also posted her second best ever World Cup result earlier in the day in women’s singles where she was 10th.
The relay event consists of one women’s, one men’s and one doubles sled. Athletes hit a paddle at the finish line that allows the next member of the team to begin their run at the top of the track.
The three Canadian sleds combined for a fifth-place time of 3:09.933 to wrap up their first-time training and competition block on the 2022 Olympic Track.
“Learning this new track has definitely offered some challenges but it’s been so much fun to figure out and slide on. It was a great day, and we are so excited to be back racing,” said Ellis.
Austria won the relay with a time of 3:06.953. The Americans were second at 3:07.328, while Italy slid to the bronze medal and a time of 3:07.331.
Tristan Walker and Justin Snith were part of Canada’s historic silver-medal winning relay team at the 2018 Olympics. The Canadian tandem are now mentoring a new generation of luge athletes who have been making steady progress on the elite international circuit in the last Olympic quadrennial.
Trinity Ellis, along with Reid Watts, are amongst a handful of luge legacy babies born out of the 2010 Olympic Games on Canada’s West Coast, who are now evolving into leaders of the National Team.
Ellis proved on Sunday the new generation are now ready to contend with the world’s best after taking another major step forward in her development, sliding to the second top-10 finish of her career in the elite women’s singles race.
Sitting in 12th spot after the first blast down the 16-corner piece of stunning sliding sport architecture in China, the talented teen snagged the final spot in the top-10 Sunday after clocking the seventh-fastest final run time. Ellis finished the day with a combined time of 2:00.001.
“I’m super happy with this result. I definitely had some mistakes in the first run, but I was happy to be able to clean it up in the second run,” said Ellis, who also finished eighth in just her third ever World Cup race two years ago.
The lone Canadian woman to qualify for the World Cup race in Beijing this week, Ellis will be hunting down Austria’s Madeleine Egle on the track to the Olympic Games. Egle won the women’s race with a time of 1:58.522. Germany’s Julia Taubitz was second with a time of 1:58.928. Austria’s Lisa Schulte slid to the final step of the podium with a third-place time of 1:59.350.
“The youth are taking over,” said Wolfgang Staudinger, head coach, Canadian Luge Team. “We have a really long way to go. They are still very young, but Trinity is showing strong signs of being a good one in this sport. There will be lots of good and bad results which is normal, but she knows she can do it, and for her age, today is another very impressive result.”
The Canadian Luge Team have been in a rebuilding period since the program’s first double-medal triumph in PyeongChang. Months after celebrating their first Olympic medals, the most successful athletes in the history of the sport in Canada – Alex Gough, Sam Edney and Kim McRae – retired from the program. All three have since stayed involved in the office, on the track or with the Board of Directors to help groom the new generation who unofficially arrived this weekend at the season-opener in Beijing.
A 19 and 20-year-old doubles team of Devin Wardrope and Cole Zajanski slid to a career-best eighth place in their second World Cup race. Reid Watts, a 12th place finisher despite being a teenager at the 2018 Games, is knocking on door of the elite group of 15 in a stacked men’s field separated by fractions of a second.
The young Canadian squad will now continue their development next week at a World Cup stop in Sochi, Russia.
“I am looking forward to Sochi. It is another brand-new track for me so I’m just going to stay focused on learning, figuring out this new challenge and hopefully carrying this momentum forward,” added Ellis.
Complete Beijing Relay Results: https://www.fil-luge.org/cdn/uploads/wc-yanqing-team-relay-result.pdf
Complete Beijingn Women’s Singles Results: https://www.fil-luge.org/cdn/uploads/wc-women-yanqing-result-2nd-run.pdf
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