Gough leads Canadian lugers in pursuit of elusive Olympic medal in Pyeongchang

Gough leads Canadian lugers in pursuit of elusive Olympic medal in Pyeongchang

Alex Gough of Calgary leads Canada’s eight lugers into the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where the country seeks its first Olympic medal in the sport.

Gough is Canada’s most decorated luge athlete with 25 World Cup medals two world championship bronze in women’s singles.

The 30-year-old will be joined by three-time Olympian Sam Edney, Kim McRae, Mitch Malyk, Brooke Apshkrum and Justin Snith all of Calgary, as well as Tristan Walker of Cochrane, Alta., and Reid Watts of Whistler, B.C.

Canada just missed out on a luge medal at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

Gough, the doubles team of Snith and Walker, and the relay team that included Edney were fourth. McRae placed fifth in women’s singles behind Gough.

“We have a hungry group of athletes that have achieved success at so many levels in our sport,” Edney said in a statement.

“We feel strong and confident that the work has been put in over the last few years, and know that we can now compete with the powerhouse nations in the world of luge.”

Edney, 33, became the first Canadian male to win a World Cup race in 2014, which he did on his home track in Calgary. He earned bronze at a test event in PyeongChang last season.

“Anytime you go to the Olympics is a realization of a dream,” said Edney.

“Having the opportunity to even pursue this dream, and have the chance to compete for a medal, is something few ever get to experience once, let alone four times, so I feel incredibly privileged to have the opportunity to continue chasing this dream for Canada with so many supporters behind me.”

Walker and Snith missed the podium by just five hundredths of a second in Sochi.

“To represent Canada at another Olympics means everything to me,” said Walker. “Our goals are to pull the fastest starts we can, and have the best runs that we can.”

The sliding track in Whistler, built for the 2010 Winter Games, has borne its first Olympian in Watts, who is the youngest on the team at 18.

The athletes were chosen for the luge team based on their international results over the last two years. The luge races run Feb. 10-15 in Pyeongchang.