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A medal of every colour: Historic day for Canadian lugers at Lake Placid World Cup

The Canadian luge team relay squad of Kim McRae, Justin Snith, Tristan Walker and Sam Edney struck gold on what was a historic day for Canada at the luge World Cup event in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Saturday.  

Canada posted a winning combined time of two minutes, 34.627 seconds, which was 0.044 seconds ahead of the silver-medal winning Russians, while the host U.S. placed third with a time of 2:34.815.

"I am super pumped for the team. I put down the first run and just watched Sam and the doubles come behind me, and we held on for the gold," said McRae.

"It is absolutely awesome for our program and was just an all around great day of racing."

It was the second medal of the day for McRae, who took silver in the women's singles event, and the first time Canadian lugers have collected gold, silver, and bronze on the same day. 

Alex Gough shared the singles podium with McRae, earning bronze. 

The team made a commitment to going to Lake Placid early this fall in order to put in extra training at the venue, and that strategy surely paid off on Saturday.

"It was a heck of day," said head coach Wolfgang Staudinger. "We proved today with starts, good sliding and consistency – you put the full package together and this is what happens. The team showed their potential today and I'm happy for them."

Big improvement

Germany's Tatjana Huefner was the winner of the women's singles race with a combined two-run time of one minute, 28.638 seconds, with McRae 0.068 back and Gough trailing the winner by 0.085.

However, both Canadians showed improvement from the season opener in Germany last week, where McRae finished sixth, despite a personal best start time, while Gough was 10th.

Rare company

It was just the third time in history that two Canadians have shared a luge World Cup podium.

"It was seriously amazing to have two of us on the podium," said Gough. "Kim is just one of the greatest people in the world that I know. We have great camaraderie. We have nice internal competition where we push each other to be better, and we did that all week in training."

Gough and McRae reached the podium together in Altenberg, Germany, just before the 2014 Sochi Olympics. 

Gough was also on the podium along with Arianne Jones in Calgary in December 2014. 

Huefner ties career win record

Meanwhile, Huefner tied the career record for World Cup women's luge wins with her 37th victory on the circuit and is now knotted with Sylke Otto — also from Germany — for the all-time lead, three ahead of reigning world champion Natalie Geisenberger.

Huefner has now won a World Cup on 13 different tracks, however it was her first win on Lake Placid's ice.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd achieve this record victory in Lake Placid, of all places," Huefner said. "It's unreal."

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