NEWS
02/13/2018 08:05 EST | Updated 02/13/2018 12:04 EST

Alex Gough Wins Bronze, Canada's 1st Olympic Medal In Luge

Gough has been a long-time presence on the World Cup circuit.

Canada's Alex Gough has won bronze in luge.
Getty Images
Canada's Alex Gough has won bronze in luge.

Alex Gough won Canada's first-ever Olympic luge medal Tuesday, grabbing bronze in the women's singles race at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

Competing at her fourth Olympics, the Calgary native finished with a combined four-run time of three minutes 5.644 seconds.

German Natalie Geisenberger captured her second consecutive gold medal in 3:05.232 while compatriot Tatjana Huefner was second in 3:05.599.

Gough looked to be headed to another fourth-place finish after dropping back a spot from third on her final run down the track when Eitberger put in a solid run.

But fellow German Tatjana Huefner, who had been in second, made a mistake on her run right after Gough to push the Canadian onto the podium.

"Elated. Just so over the moon," said Gough, who was competing at her fourth Olympics. "Especially to overcome that gut-wrenching feeling of being behind (Eitberger) and probably in a fourth spot again and to have that flip around on me and be suddenly in a medal spot is so amazing."

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Bronze medallist Canada's Alex Gough celebrates after the women's luge singles.

Gough sat third after Monday night's first two runs with a combined time of 1:32.645 to put her just 0.191 seconds back of Geisenberger at the Olympic Sliding Centre in the South Korean mountains.

Gough, 30, kept hold of that position through Tuesday's third run of 46.425 seconds, 0.336 seconds back of Geisenberger, and just 0.017 seconds behind Huefner for second.

She was unable to get any closer after clocking 46.574 seconds on her fourth trip down the track, but will still go down as the first Canadian luger to step on an Olympic podium.

Calgary's Kimberley McRae wound up fifth in 3:05.878 at her second Olympics, while Brooke Apshkrum, also of Calgary, was 13th in 3:07.102 at the 18-year-old's first Games.

The sliders have been wary of Curve 9 at the wind-swept venue, a tricky stretch of track that cost German great Felix Loch a chance at a record-tying third straight men's Olympic gold medal when he skidded halfway through Sunday's final run and wound up a stunning fifth.

But there weren't many issues on this night among the contenders hurdling themselves down the icy track feet-first at speeds of more than 120 kilometres an hour.

Matthias Hangst via Getty Images
Silver medalist Dajana Eitberger of Germany, left, gold medalist Natalie Geisenberger of Germany, middle, and bronze medalist Alex Gough of Canada celebrate following the women's luge final.

Gough was just 0.433 seconds behind American Erin Hamlin for bronze in Sochi, while McRae was 0.75 seconds short of reaching the podium in fifth.

Gough, men's singles luger Sam Edney, and doubles sliders Tristan Walker and Justin Snith were also a frustrating fourth in the team relay four years ago in Russia.

The quartet was bumped up to bronze for what would have been Canada's first-ever Olympic luge medal in December after two Russian competitors were among 40 athletes from that country stripped of their 2014 results and handed lifetime bans by the International Olympic Committee for alleged doping violations.

But citing insufficient evidence, the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned that punishment for 28 of those athletes, including lugers Albert Demchenko and Tatiana Ivanova.

Tom Pennington via Getty Images
Alex Gough of Canada competing in women's luge at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.

Fourth in the overall World Cup standings this season, Gough has won 25 career medals on the circuit. She's also made the podium five times at the world championships, including two third-place finishes in singles (2011 and 2013).

Gough became the first Canadian luger to win gold in a World Cup race when she snapped a 13-year, 105-race German winning streak in February 2011.

McRae won bronze at last year's worlds, and was 10th on the World Cup circuit this year.

Walker and Snith are compete in the doubles race Wednesday ahead of Thursday's team relay. Edney was sixth in the men's race.

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