Canadians combine for relay bronze at luge worlds

Canada's luge team combined to win its first team relay medal without veteran Alex Gough on the three-sled squad on Sunday. (Matthias Schrader/AP)

KOENIGSSEE, Germany — Canada claimed a bronze medal in the team relay event Sunday on the final day of the luge world championships.

Coming off a disappointing Saturday, the new look Canadian relay team featuring 20-year-old Mitch Malyk, Alex Gough along with Tristan Walker and Justin Snith captured their first ever medal together.

The Calgarians clocked a combined time of two minutes 45.907 seconds on one of their favourite tracks, which includes long straightaways, tight and long free flowing corners.

"It (bronze medal) definitely takes a little of the sting away from yesterday, but not all of it," said Snith, who along with teammate Tristan Walker were in medal contention in the doubles race Saturday before letting it slip away on their final run.

"We could have had a run like that yesterday. This shows it is completely within our ability. I’m glad we were able to do it on command today when it matters."

The relay is a one-run bomb race consisting of one women’s, one men’s and one doubles sled. Athletes hit a pad hanging over the track after crossing the finish line, which opens the start gate for the next team member.

It was the first career medal for Malyk who replaced three-time Olympian, Sam Edney, on the men’s singles sled for Canada’s relay team this year. Edney took the year off to recover from a nagging injury.

"It is absolutely unbelievable and really hasn’t sunk in yet," said Malyk. "I knew I had big shoes to fill this year, and I’ve been working really hard to try and fill them. There is obviously a little extra pressure on me in the relay. I just tried to focus on having clean runs. We’ve been so close all season, but little mistakes have cost us. It was nice to get the monkey off the back and do it today."

The Germans captured the World Championship title on their home track with a time of 2:44.062. Latvia finished with a time of 2:45.614 to win the silver.

Also Sunday, Olympic champion Felix Loch completed a near-perfect weekend for Germany by claiming his fifth men’s world championship title.

Loch was quickest in both runs of the men’s singles, shooting down the track in 49.173 and 49.691 seconds. His combined time of 1:38.864 seconds edged compatriot Ralf Palik by 0.423.

Wolfgang Kindl of Austria was third, 0.689 behind, ahead of American Chris Mazdzer.

"It’s simply brilliant. Here at home in front of the crowd, it’s so awesome," Loch said.

Malyk finished 12th.

Olympic champion Natalie Geisenberger claimed the women’s title and Olympic champions Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt won the doubles race on Saturday.

The only blip for Germany came Friday, when Martina Kocher of Switzerland held off Geisenberger to win the women’s sprint. Loch and Wendl/Arlt won their sprints.

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