July 25th, 2024

Podulsky, Susko slide to seventh at pair’s first luge World Cup women’s doubles

By Nick Wells, The Canadian Press on December 15, 2023.

Canada's Theo Downey, of Calgary, Alta., races down the track during a World Cup men's luge event in Whistler, B.C., Friday, Dec. 15, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

WHISTLER, B.C. – The Canadian duo of Beattie Podulsky and Embyr Susko say they’re happy to have finished their first-ever women’s luge doubles race at the Eberspacher Luge World Cup stop at the Whistler Sliding Centre, let alone compete for the podium.

The pair have been sliding together for just over a month and have had to work quickly on developing an understanding.

“This being our first World Cup together and first month on a double sled together, I’m pretty happy with how it went,” said Podulsky.

Susko agreed with her partner, adding they were both still getting used to the design of the sled.

“I’m just stoked we put the sled down straight two runs in a row, that’s a pretty big feat for us where we are in our doubles career right now,” Susko said with a laugh.

The newness of the competition to the two provided some added anxiety, with Podulsky saying she “felt like throwing up” due to nerves beforehand while Susko played a calming role. They finished seventh overall with a time of 1:18.920

The German team of Jessica Degenhardt and Cheyenne Rosenthal finished first in the doubles with a combined time of one minute, 18.371 seconds.

Countrymates Dajana Eitberger and Saskia Schirmer finished 0.08 seconds back in second with Italians Andrea Voetter and Marion Oberhofer (1:18.466) rounded out the top three.

On the men’s side, Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt claimed their 53rd gold medal win on the World Cup circuit, finishing with a time of one minute, 17.300 seconds.

“It’s great, it feels like the first one,” said Arlt.

Wendl agreed, adding that despite competing together for more than two decades the pair are constantly learning about what different tracks require.

“It’s super fast and the speed is incredible,” Wendl said about the track at Whistler. “It’s the only track in the world that makes it so fast in the bottom. We like it very much.”

Austria’s Thomas Steu and Wolfgang Kindl finished 0.078 seconds behind the leaders and Germany’s Hannes Orlamuender and Paul Constantin Gubitz (1:17.405) claimed bronze.

Canadian’s Devin Wardrope and Cole Anthony Zajanski finished 12th overall.

“We’re still trying to figure out our sled and all the components that go into that,” said Zajanski.

“This whole pre-season and the first two World Cups we’ve struggled a lot with the sled setup and how we’re not very comfortable and it’s not very quick. Hopefully a result like this, we take a few weeks off and regroup and hopefully moving forward we can just continue this roll and get better and better.”

Susko and Podulsky will compete in the Team Relay on Saturday, while Susko will also compete in the women’s singles.

Team Relay teams consist of one sled from each discipline: women’s singles; men’s doubles; men’s singles; and women’s doubles. All four sleds of one team start one after the other from one start height, provided the slider in front of them hits a touch pad to open the start gate for their teammate.

It’s the first time women’s doubles is being included in the relay.

Germany’s Max Langenhan struck gold in the men’s singles race.

Langenhan finished his race in one minute, 40.093 seconds.

Jonas Mueller of Austria (1:40.348) and Latvia’s Kristers Aparjods (1:40.572) earned silver and bronze, respectively.

Langenhan sits atop the men’s singles rankings through the first two legs of the World Cup circuit with 200 points. The 24-year-old also had the fastest time in the first leg of the World Cup circuit, which runs until March 2, 2024 in Sigulda, Latvia.

Meanwhile, Canadians Theo Downy and Dylan Morse placed 17th and 20th, respectively.

Downey said he was pleased with his first singles race on the senior circuit, a week after finishing third at the Winterberg Junior World Cup.

“Being able to be around these people that are way older than me, my entire career I’ve been looking up to them and been like ‘oh wow these guys are the big leagues’ is pretty exciting,” he said.

Downey trains in Whistler and said having practised on the luge course before helped him in preparing for the men’s senior event.

“This track is scary. It’s very scary. So having those hundreds of runs to fall back on has helped a lot,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 15, 2023.

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