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Cochrane's Walker, Snith to lead young Canadian luge team at Beijing Olympics

CALGARY — Olympic medallists Tristan Walker and Justin Snith lead a young Canadian luge team at the 2022 Beijing Games. Luge Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee announced the six-athlete team Tuesday.
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Tristan Walker and Justin Snith of Canada are seen during the second run of doubles luge during the Viessmann Luge World Cup in Whistler, B.C., Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

CALGARY — Olympic medallists Tristan Walker and Justin Snith lead a young Canadian luge team at the 2022 Beijing Games.

Luge Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee announced the six-athlete team Tuesday.

Calgary's Snith and Walker, of Cochrane, Alta., head to their fourth Olympics. The veteran doubles pair was part of Canada's silver medal-winning relay team at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.

Snith and Walker will compete in doubles again in Beijing, while Reid Watts of Whistler, B.C., looks to build on his 12th-place finish in men's singles four years ago.

They will be joined by first-time Olympians Natalie Corless of Whistler, Trinity Ellis of Pemberton, B.C., and Calgary's Makena Hodgson in women’s singles.

Canada will also try for a second straight relay podium with a team roster yet to be determined.

The Olympic team was announced by former Canadian luger Alex Gough in a presentation to elementary school students in the northern communities of Sioux Lookout, Mine Centre, Fort Frances and Nestor Falls. 

Gough won Canada's first Olympic luge medal when she slid to bronze in women's singles in Pyeongchang, and was part of the relay team with Snith and Walker and Sam Edney.

“Looking at the history of the luge program over the last decade, we are proof dreams do come true if you set goals, work hard and persevere through the ups and downs of the journey,” Walker said in a statement.  

“When Justin and I made our first Olympic team in 2010, it was unthinkable that a luge athlete from Canada could stand on the Olympic podium. I want these students to know the dreams for all of us on this team – in life and sport – began as children in school."

Corless is the youngest member of the team at 18 years old. She was a silver medallist in doubles at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games.

“Six months ago I would have thought going to the Games was practically impossible, but after an exciting season, full of ups and downs I am thrilled that I get to be a part of Team Canada for the 2022 Olympics,” Corless said in the statement.

Ellis, 19, is coming off her third World Cup season and posted a top-10 finish at an Olympic test event at the Yanqing Sliding Centre in November. Hodgson, 20, just finished her first World Cup season.

Calgary's Wolfgang Staudinger, Bernhard Glass of Oberhof, Germany and Duncan Kennedy of Lake Placid, U.S., will coach the Canadian team.

Luge competition is Feb. 5 -10 at the Yanqing Sliding Centre.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2022.

The Canadian Press