Luge

The Canadian Press - Friday Dec. 6, 2013 21:03 ET

Justin Snith, Tristan Walker 4th in World Cup luge

Calgary's Sam Edney in 6th in men's event

Justin Snith
Canada's Tristan Walker, right, of Cochrane, Alta., and Justin Snith, of Calgary, Alta., race to a fourth pace finish during a Luge World Cup doubles event in Whistler, B.C., on Friday. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press

Fourth place is starting to get old for Canada's Justin Snith and Tristan Walker.

The duo produced their best run of the luge World Cup season Friday but it wasn't enough to get on the doubles podium.

Calgary's Snith and Walker of Cochrane, Alta., were sixth after the first run before blazing to the third fastest time on their second trip down the course to finish one minute 13.378 seconds, just 0.027 seconds out of third.

"We know we're close. We were definitely closer than we were last year," said Snith, who along with Walker finished fourth in doubles at the 2013 world championship on the same track. "It was just the difference of our first run. We had a couple little skids on the way down and that was the difference between fourth and third."

Snith and Walker also finished fourth in last season's final two World Cup events.

"The first run had a couple little sloppy mistakes and it's been kind of the story of the season so far," said Walker. "It's been frustrating. We know we have so much more to give once you get the two runs combined, but we know we're right there."

Germany's Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt continued their doubles dominance with their third World Cup victory in four races this season, finishing first at the Whistler Sliding Centre with a two-run time of 1:13.087.

"It's a very good track for us," said Arlt, who paired with Wendl to win gold at last year's world championship. "We like it a lot. It's awesome to be here."

Fellow Germans Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken, the only men to beat Wendl and Arlt this season, were second with a time of 1:13.171 on the track that hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Austria's Penter Penz and Georg Fischler were third in 1:13.351.

Snith and Walker started the World Cup season with a disappointing 19th-place finish in Norway before following that up with a 12th-place showing in Austria the following week.

The pair got things going last week with a fifth-place finish in Winterberg, Germany, before producing their best showing of the season on Friday.

"The second run, right from the start, nailed the start cut," said Snith. "On the way down, no problems, no skids anywhere. I knew it was a good one."

Canada's Edney motivated by result

Canada has never won an Olympic medal in luge, but is hoping to change that in Sochi early next year.

Germany is the dominate power in the sport, but Canada is in the mix in all four events — doubles, men's and women's singles, as well as the team relay, which will be making its Olympic debut.

"[The Germans are] just humans, they're not robots," said Snith. "They will make mistakes and we just have to be ready and capitalize on those opportunities.

"They're a little bit further away than I'd like them to be right now, but if we keep working the way like we have been going and working on the start, I'm sure that time difference will come down."

Arlt said the Canadians aren't far away from cracking a top-three finish.

"It's getting closer," he said. "They're very concentrated and work very hard. It's not [far] to the podium."

Germany's Felix Loch won the men's competition on the same track where he won gold at the 2010 Olympics.   

Loch completed two runs in one minute, 36.686 seconds, beating American Chris Mazdzer by almost 3-10ths of a second. Dominik Fischnaller of Italy was third, a mere 0.003 seconds behind Mazdzer.   

Mazdzer's second place was the first podium finish for an American on the luge circuit in almost seven years.

Calgary's Sam Edney finished in sixth place with a combined time of 1:37.106.

"Sixth place is a great result again. I know that it's that close to the podium," said Edney. "It's a matter 10ths of a second, which is inspiring and motivating."

Mitchel Malyk and John Fennell, both of Calgary, finished the men's singles race in 19th and 24th, respectively 

The women's singles and team relay events go Saturday.

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