History of Luge
Olympic Luge History
Competitive luge racing began in Switzerland in the late 1800's but it would be another 60 years before Canadian competitors took up the sport. It wasn't until the late 1950's that bobsledder Vic Emery introduced the sport to Canadians at a ski area in Quebec. Emery, who would go on to win Canada's first Olympic bobsleigh medal at the 1964 Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria, was also the first Canadian Luge Champion.
Despite a long history and well established competitions in Switzerland, Germany and Austria, luge did not appear at the Olympic Games until 1964. Until then, most luge competitions took place on iced alpine roads and sometimes on 'tracks' with banked side walls. The traditional form of the sport evolved into the two disciplines of Olympic luge and Natural luge.
Entry into the Olympics marked the beginning of a new era in the development of the sport as racing switched to artificial ice tracks with steeply-banked curves.
From the outset, European countries have dominated the sport. All Olympic medals from 1964 until 2002 have been won by four countries: Germany, Austria, Italy and the former USSR In recent years, however, other nations have been making inroads, most noticeably the United States which holds Olympic medals in the doubles competition at the 2002 Winter Games.
Luge in Canada
The Canadian Luge Association is a not-for-profit organization responsible for governing the sport of luge across the country. With the financial backing of the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, the Canadian Luge Association safely recruits and develops the nation's current and future high-performance luge athletes with the goal of regularly climbing onto the international podium.
Participation in the Olympics
Canada did not participate in the inaugural Olympic competition of 1964, but made its debut four years later at the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble, France, posting a team high 31st in men's competition and 12th in the women's event.
Since that time, Canadian competitors have gained a lot of ground in international competition. Canada’s luge athletes are building from a record-setting performance at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia where the team finished with three, heart-breaking fourth-place finishes and a fifth. Alex Gough and Kim McRae finished fourth and fifth respectively in women’s singles racing. Tristan Walker and Justin Snith teamed up for a fourth-place finish in doubles action before joining Alex Gough and Sam Edney for another heart-breaking fourth-place finish in the team relay which debuted at the Games in Sochi.
Canada’s luge athletes have been on steady progression over the years, continuously posting top results throughout the 1980’s and 1990s. Marie Claude Doyon's seventh place finish in the women's event at the Calgary Games in 1988, Bruce Smith's and Kyle Connelly's 11th place finishes in men's singles at Lake Placid in 1980 and Salt Lake City respectively and a fifth place in doubles posted by Chris Moffat and Eric Pothier at Salt Lake City in 2002 were the best finishes for years.
But with Canada being awarded the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, a new culture for winning was born in Canadian sport including Canada’s luge program.
1988 Olympic Legacy
The legacy of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary has helped transcend Canada’s luge program – introducing hundreds of youth to the sliding sports. The bobsleigh/luge/skeleton track at Canada Olympic Park is home to Canada's Olympic Luge development program, which has trained many high-potential athletes since the track opened.
With the Olympic legacy in their backyard, Calgary’s Olympic legacy has introduced and developed many luge athletes into medal contenders at all levels internationally including this generation of Olympians such as: Alex Gough, Sam Edney, Tristan Walker, Justin Snith, Kim McRae who had a track to the podium paved for them by Regan Lauscher, Jeff Christie and the doubles team of Chris Moffat and Mike Moffat.
2010 Olympic Legacy
When Canada was awarded the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, a new culture for winning emerged in Canada and that mentality was no different for the Canadian luge program.
The construction of the world-leading Whistler Sliding Centre and the introduction of the Own the Podium program delivered the resources Canada’s luge athletes required to contend for the podium.
The Canadian Team has never looked back – developing the most successful group of athletes in the program’s history.
Once happy to wear the national uniform at elite competition, Canada’s luge program has been on a steady progression to the top of the international luge standings thanks to the hosting of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games at home. Now boasting a talented group of athletes winning medals in all race disciplines at all levels, Luge Canada is a medal contender each week and determined to win its first Olympic medal
The Whistler Sliding Centre gave birth to a pool of legacy babies on Canada’s west coast to the sliding sports including Youth Olympic Games medallist Reid Watts, and international medal winner Jenna Spencer.
“Our goals as a program have been clear – to win medals at the Olympic Games. We have not, and will not, waver in our focus,” said Walter Corey, high-performance director, Luge Canada. “It takes depth to mount an attack on the podium, and thanks to Whistler we are now building that."
Destined to be the next generation of Canada’s great Olympians in the sport, the young lugers in British Columbia who have been following the track blazed for them, and are charging through the luge ranks.
“Reid and Brooke’s medals at the Youth Olympic Games, along with our success at the World Cup level exemplifies the benefits of hosting an Olympic Games at home. Vancouver 2010 has transcended our program, and along with our partners, a new high-performance culture has established luge in Whistler and across Canada. With our seniors leading the way, our next generation of Canadian luge athletes now believe they too can win. These performances are an inspiration to all athletes on the West Coast, and is a shared reward for our entire communities of partners and volunteers.”
Canadian Olympic Luge History
Men’s Singles Results
|11th||Kyle Connelly||XIX||Salt Lake City||2002|
|11th||Bruce Smith||XIII||Lake Placid||1980|
|14th||Chris Moffat||XIX||Salt Lake City||2002|
|17th||Mark Jensen||XIII||Lake Placid||1980|
|19th||Tyler Seitz||XIX||Salt Lake City||2002|
Women’s Singles Results
|7th||Marie Claude Doyon||XV||Calgary||1988|
|12th||Regan Lauscher||XIX||Salt Lake City||2002|
|18th||Carole Keyes||XII||Lake Placid||1980|
|22nd||Danielle Nadeau||XIII||Lake Placid||1980|
|23rd||Mary Jane Bowie||XII||Innsbruck||1976|
|4th||Tristan Walker/Justin Snith||XXII||Sochi||2014|
|5th||Tristan Walker/Justin Snith||XXIII||PyeongChang||2018|
|5th||Chris Moffat/Eric Pothier||XIX||Salt Lake City||2002|
|7th||Tristan Walker/Justin Snith||XXIV||Beijing||2022|
|7th||Chris Moffat/Mike Moffat||XXI||Vancouver||2010|
|8th||Robert Gasper/Clay Ives||XVII||Lillehammer||1994|
|9th||Chris Moffat/Mike Moffat||XX||Torino||2006|
|10th||Grant Albrecht/Eric Pothier||XX||Torino||2006|
|10th||Robert Gasper/Andre Benoit||XV||Calgary||1988|
|12th||Grant Albrecht/Mike Moffat||XIX||Salt Lake City||2002|
|13th||Chris Sudu/Dan Doll||XVI||Albertville||1992|
|14th||Robert Gasper/Andre Benoit||XVI||Albertville||1992|
|15th||Tristan Walker/Justin Snith||XXI||Vancouver||2010|
|16th||Larry Arbuthnot/Doug Hansen||XI||Sapporo||1972|
|17th||Larry Arbuthnot/Doug Hansen||XII||Innsbruck||1976|
|17th||Harry Salmon/Dan Doll||XV||Calgary||1988|
|22nd||Dave Mccomb/Mike Schragge||XII||Innsbruck||1976|
Team Relay Results
|2nd||Alex Gough/Sam Edney/Tristan Walker/Justin Snith||XXIII||PyeongChang||2018|
|4th||Alex Gough/Sam Edney/Tristan Walker/Justin Snith||XXII||Sochi||2014|
|6th||Trinity Ellis/Reid Watts/Tristan Walker/Justin Snith||XXIV||Beijing||2022|
Youth Olympic Games Results
|2nd||Caitlin Nash/Natalie Corless||III||Lausanne / St. Moritz||2020|
|4th||Caitlin Nash||III||Lausanne / St. Moritz||2020|
|4th||Kailey Allan/Caitlin Nash/Natalie Corless/Alex Gufler (ITA)||III||Lausanne / St. Moritz||2020|
|7th||Kailey Allan||III||Lausanne / St. Moritz||2020|