PYEONGCHANG, Korea, Republic Of â€” Sam Edney raced into the Canadian luge history books on Sunday.
The 32-year-old from Calgary, who took last season off to nurse some nagging injuries, announced his return with a bronze medal at a luge World Cup, becoming the first Canadian male to reach the podium on a track outside of Canada.
“I needed it today,” Edney said. “It has been a pretty dismal year and I have been pretty hard on myself after most races. I went into the season with the focus on world championships and this test event in Pyeongchang. The worlds was a down point for me and I walked away from it with my head pretty low.”
The 15-year national team veteran raced to a time of one minute 37.694 seconds on the track that will be used for next year’s Winter Olympics. Italy’s Dominik Fischnaller won the gold with 1:37.229, while Germany’s Andi Langenhan was second at 1:37.378.
“This result is vital for me to walk away from the season, and know that it is not a failure at all,” Edney said. “There are lots of positives and I know what I have to do mentally and physically. I was getting into a pretty dark place and questioning what I was doing, but this will carry me through the summer and gives me the motivation I need to train my butt off â€” knowing I can still be there.”
Edney’s only other singles podium finish came three years ago when he became the first Canadian male to win a World Cup luge race. That was at his home track at Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park.
“This is a big honour for me. I have always wanted to solidify that result I had in Calgary,” Edney said. “I had some close calls on some tracks, but never quite did it again. It is an honour to be here and represent Canada, and etch my name a little more in Canadian luge history.”
The only other Canadian male luge athlete to medal in a singles World Cup race was Tyler Seitz, who won a bronze in 2002 in Calgary.
Reid Watts, of Whistler, B.C., placed 21st, while Calgary’s Mitch Malyk was 25th.
The Canadian Press