Sam Edney slides to Canada's best-ever men's singles luge result

Germany's Felix Loch upset by Austria's David Gleirscher in final run

Sam Edney slides to Canada's best-ever men's singles luge result
Canada's Sam Edney smiles in the finish area after the third run during final heats of the men's luge competition. © Andy Wong/The Associated Press

By Joshua Clipperton, Canadian Press

Sam Edney capped his Olympic career by posting the best-ever men's luge result by a Canadian at a Winter Games.

The Calgary slider raced to sixth-place finish Sunday at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. He had a cumulative time of three minutes 11.021 seconds to post his best ever Olympic result in his fourth and final Games.

Austria's David Gleirscher won gold in 3:10.702 while Chris Mazdzer of the U.S. took silver in 3:10.728 and Germany's Johannes Ludwig bronze in 3:10.932.

Germany's Felix Loch — the two-time defending Olympic champion — fell to fifth after a rough final run.

Fifth after Saturday's first two runs, the 33-year-old Edney sat sixth after clocking in at 47.759 seconds in his third trip down the track. He then raced to a 47.645 on his final run at the Olympic Sliding Centre on a frigid night where the temperature plummeted as low as -22 C with the wind chill.

'It was a close race'

"It's something I'm still trying to kind of put words to," Edney said. "It was a close race from the start. You knew it was going to be whoever could put down four consistent runs, and look at who stands on the top of the podium — a guy that deserves that because he did that.

"For myself, I think I'm a little bit disappointed right now because I fell off the pace on that third run, and that was kind of the moment that I put myself behind the 8-ball. Now I'm just really trying to enjoy what I have, which is a Canadian best-ever. Sixth place at the Olympics is still something to be really proud of, it's just not exactly what I was hoping for."

Reid Watts of Whistler, B.C., finished 12th with a combined time of 3:11.490, while Calgary's Mitchel Malyk was 16th in 3:11.946.

Edney's best Olympic singles performance prior to Sunday was his seventh-place showing at Vancouver 2010.

He was 11th in the men's race four years ago in Sochi, Russia, and also wound up a frustrating fourth in the team relay with women's luger Alex Gough and doubles sliders Tristan Walker and Justin Snith.

Final Olympic singles run

"It was an awesome career," an emotional Edney said after his last Olympic singles race. "I'm really proud of the steps that I've made and the program's made. It's been a really amazing experience."

The Canadians were upgraded to bronze — what would have been Canada's first-ever Olympic luge podium finish — in December after a pair of Russian competitors were among 40 athletes from that country stripped of their 2014 results and handed lifetime bans by the International Olympic Committee for alleged doping violations.

But the Court of Arbitration for Sport recently overturned that punishment for 28 of those athletes, including lugers Albert Demchenko and Tatiana Ivanova, citing insufficient evidence.

Edney and his teammates addressed the controversy surrounding "the medal that is not" at a press conference earlier this week, making it clear they wanted to focus on the 2018 Games.

Gough up next

Edney became the first Canadian male to win a World Cup medal when he took gold at a race in Calgary in 2014.

He was also the country's first male singles luger to step on a World Cup podium outside Canada when he grabbed bronze at a Pyeongchang test event last February.

Edney then took silver in another race on his home track in December for his best finish of 2017-18 season.

Women's luge in Pyeongchang goes Monday and Tuesday, doubles is slated for Wednesday, and the relay is set for Thursday.

Gough was fourth in Sochi, while Walker and Snith were also just off the podium before the Canadian quartet finished fourth in the controversial relay.

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