IGLS, Austria â€” Canada’s Kim McRae become the second Canadian to ever reach the individual podium at the luge world championships on Saturday by capturing bronze in the women’s singles.
The Calgary native finished in one minute 19.952 seconds, behind German Tatjana Huefner, who won gold in 1:19.712. Erin Hamlin of the United States was second at 1:19.925. It was Huefner’s fifth career individual gold medal and first in five years.
“It is pretty incredible. After that first run I thought I had no chance,” said McRae, who made a costly mistake sliding too early into corner nine. “It honestly didn’t cross my mind at all that I could be a medallist today heading into the last run. I was two-tenths behind and just thought I was out of it.”
The 24-year-old McRae joins Alex Gough as the only two Canadians to reach the singles podium at the worlds in a non-Olympic year. Gough, also of Calgary, accomplished the feat with a bronze in 2011 in Italy and again in 2013 in Whistler, B.C. Gough finished fifth overall on Saturday in 1:20.001.
McRae, who was fifth in her Olympic debut in 2014, along with Gough became the first Canadians ever to share a World Cup podium in the sport in 2014 when McRae captured bronze for her first medal. McRae slid to the silver and Gough a bronze in Lake Placid earlier this year.
“The start honestly has been the big difference for me this year,” said McRae, who had the second fastest start in the first run. “We worked really hard on it in the summer. I have been healthy throughout this year body wise so I have really been able to push it body wise and it is definitely showing.
“I didn’t do anything major different in the second run. I just put down the same runs as training all week, let the sled run and it worked out.”
Olympic and defending world champion Natalie Geisenberger was only 17th before setting a track record of 39.822 seconds in the final run to finish sixth, 0.294 behind her German teammate.
Huefner has won eight medals at world championships and three at the Olympics, including gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken led a German sweep of the podium in the doubles race.
Eggert and Benecken posted a track record of 39.468 seconds in the first run and held on to their lead to beat Olympic champions Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt by 0.206, and Robin Geueke and David Gamm by 0.385.
Austrians Peter Penz and Georg Fischler were the best non-German finishers in fourth.
It was the first world title for Eggert and Benecken, who had won silver three times before. They have won seven of nine races in the luge World Cup season.
The worlds conclude with the men’s singles race and a team relay on Sunday.
â€” With files from The Associated Press
The Canadian Press