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Canada’s Alex Gough places third at World Cup luge opener

Alex Gough from Canada speeds down the course during her first run at the Women's luge World Cup race in Innsbruck Igls, Austria, on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012.

Kerstin Joensson/AP

Alex Gough of Canada earned a bronze medal in the women's season-opening luge World Cup race on Saturday.

The 25-year-old Calgarian finished behind a German 1-2 finish, with Anke Wischnewski winning gold ahead of Natalie Geisenberger.

Gough was 0.152 back of Wischnewski's winning aggregate time of one minute 19.836 seconds to beat Geisenberger by 0.074.

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It was Gough's eighth World Cup medal and second consecutive bronze in Igls.

She won world championship bronze in 2011 as well as three World Cup gold medals over the past two seasons.

"I worked very hard this summer to bring the focus back to myself and away from things that I can't control because I do believe I perform better if that's where my focus is," said Gough. "I think last season I started weighing myself down with expectations, but I know if I pull fast starts and have clean runs I can be right there and I was able to do that today."

On the men's side, Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt earned Germany another 1-2 finish, beating Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken in the men's doubles race.

Wendl and Arlt timed 1:19.464 over two heats to edge Eggert and Benecken by 0.033 for their 14th World Cup win. Eggert and Benecken posted the fastest second run in a track-record time of 39.706 seconds.

Austria's Peter Penz and Georg Fischler were 0.105 behind in third, ahead of defending World Cup champions Andreas Linger and Wolfgang Linger, who trailed the winners by 0.204.

Tristan Walker, of Cochrane, Alta., and Calgary's Justin Snith, finished seventh in 1:19.994. Their best World Cup result is sixth on their home track in Calgary.

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"We are definitely happy with this considering in August I didn't even know if I was going to be able to slide," said Walker, who badly injured his hand this summer. "I really didn't know how we were going to do with our starts, but it went well today. I do think we are now ready to make a move and can be right there with the best."

The World Cup meet concludes with a men's race and team relay on Sunday.

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