Excitement is building in this pre-Olympic season as athletes, coaches and members of the CSI Calgary Integrated Support Teams travel to PyeongChang, Korea to explore and compete for the first time in the new venues. Olympic test events are being held in anticipation of the Games, which start in just over 300 days.
Canadian winter World Cup and World Championship results to date this season have been very strong. Last week after 505 events, Canada is currently in the top three nations for both total medals and total gold medals.
Throughout the PyeongChang Olympic test events, history is being made. In addition to other stellar Canadian performances, Calgary’s Sam Edney became the first Canadian male to reach a Luge podium in the men’s singles events outside of Canada, winning Bronze in February’s Viessmann Luge World Cup. Coming off a series of injuries, three-time Olympian Edney took the last year off to recover, build back his strength and focus on school.
A CSI Calgary supported athlete, Edney is a 15-year veteran of the National Luge Team. “I had a really good, solid week of training so I had a lot of confidence knowing the majority of the guys were having issues on the track,” added Edney. “I might be the old dog on Tour, but I think that is to my advantage when we get to a new track where it takes the experience, and the volume of runs I have on the tracks around the world, to help pick up new things for a new track.
Tim Farstad, Executive Director of Luge Canada says that this season heading into Korea, Canada’s Luge team athletes are proving to be strong and motivated. “The Team is hungry after getting three fourth place and one fifth place finishes in Sochi. They’ve been working hard for three years now to move into the medal spots in the next Olympic Games. As we’ve seen this season, each one of these athletes has medal potential.”
Jeremiah Barnert, CSI Calgary Strength and Conditioning coach, has been a member of the Luge support team since 2009, accompanying them in the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Games. “Sam’s success was really exciting,” says Barnert. “He came back strong after taking a year off.” Barnert goes on to explain that he is on the road with the Luge team for 10 – 14 weeks a year. With a small team, and two of four support staff from CSI Calgary, it’s a tight-knit family. “The family feel is what makes our team strong.”
Having recently spent two weeks in PyeongChang, Barnert confirmed that the new Olympic venue is in good shape, the people are great and everything is well organized
Olympic test events give athletes the opportunity to get familiar with the new venues, officials the ability to fine-tune large international events, and volunteers coming from across the world have the opportunity to give feedback.
By the end of March, Canadian athletes will have competed in PyeongChang at:
FIS World Cup Snowboard (big air)
ISU World Cup Short Track event
Alpine FEC & President Cup
FIS Cross Country World Cup
FIS Nordic Combined World Cup
World Single Distance Championships (speed skating)
FIS Freestyle World Cup
FIS Snowboard World Cup
FIS Ski Jumping World Cup
Four Continents Figure Skating Championships
World Junior Curling Championships
FIL Luge World Cup
IBU Biathlon World Cup
FIS Alpine World Cup
IBSF World Cup of Bobsleigh and Skeleton
Canada expects to send its largest team ever to an Olympic Winter games with an estimated 240 athletes joining more than 6000 competitors from up to 95 countries. Immediately following are the 12th Paralympic Winter Games with athletes from 45 countries, six sports with 80 medal events.
For more information on PyeongChang 2018, check out the official website: https://www.olympic.org/pyeongchang-2018
Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Lisa Thomson
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto