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The Globe and Mail

Canada wins bronze in team relay at luge worlds

Alex Gough from Canada speeds down the track during a practice session of the Women's Single Luge event at the Luge World Championships in Altenberg, Germany, Friday.

Matthias Rietschel

Canada won a bronze medal in the team relay at the luge world championships Sunday while Olympic champion Tatjana Huefner of Germany picked up her fourth women's title.

Huefner capped a perfect weekend for the host country by teaming with Felix Loch, Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken to finish first in the team event in two minutes 22.003 seconds.

The Germans edged the Russians by 0.089 seconds, while the Canadian team of Alex Gough, Samuel Edney, Tristan Walker and Justin Snith — all from Calgary — were 0.401 seconds back in third place.

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Canada has won relay medals on the World Cup circuit before but this was the first podium appearance in four tries at the world championships.

"It is a great feeling to finally beat the Canadian curse at the world championships in the relay," Edney said. "It was a great feeling standing on a world championship podium. If you look at our results it is clear our team is capable of this.

"For me, I think this is a stepping stone and gives me a lot of confidence moving ahead."

The relay consists of one female sled, one male sled and one doubles team sled. Each sled completes one run for a combined final time.

"We have one of the best women in the world on our team and two young guys charging down the hill so we know that we can slide well and are good in this event," Edney said.

Earlier, Gough just missed the podium in the women's event with a fourth-place finish in 1:44.818.

"Fourth is a great result, but it is tough to finish so close to the podium," said Gough, who finished third last year.

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Tatiana Ivanova set a new track record with her first run, but Huefner overtook the Russian with the fastest second run for a combined time of 1:44.482.

Ivanova was happy to settle for silver after finishing 0.101 seconds back.

"After I suffered a broken finger I never reckoned on such a result," Ivanova said. "I gritted my teeth at the start."

Olympic bronze medallist Natalie Geisenberger of Germany was third, 0.403 seconds behind.

Huefner equalled the record of four-time world champions Margit Schumann of East Germany and compatriot Sylke Otto.

"It feels great to be mentioned in the same breath as those great lugers," Huefner said. "I absolutely wanted to attack in the second run, not to defeat Ivanova but for the title."

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Dayna Clay (1:45.372) and Arianne Jones (1:45.521), also both from Calgary, were seventh and 10th, respectively.

Loch, also the Olympic champion, had already claimed the men's title for the third time on Saturday.

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