Alex Gough has shot to give Canada first Olympic luge medal

Canada's Alex Gough adjusts her helmet at the start of a run in the women's singles luge event at...

Canada's Alex Gough adjusts her helmet at the start of a run in the women's singles luge event at the Sanki Sliding Center for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb. 10, 2014. (MURAD SEZER/Reuters)

Ted Wyman, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:13 PM ET

SOCHI, RUSSIA - Canada has never won a medal in luge at the Winter Olympics, even though the sport’s been part the Games since 1964.

That 50-year drought may end Tuesday, when Calgary’s Alex Gough tries to reach the podium at the Sanki Sliding Center in Krasnaya Polyana.

Gough, 26, was the first Canadian to ever win a World Cup luge race, in 2011, and she wants to keep the firsts coming here at the Olympics.

“It’s going to be really close, it’s going to be a really tight race,” Gough said Monday. “I’m confident in my abilities and if I have the race of my life maybe I will have a chance of succeeding.”

The favourites include Tatjana Huefner (the reigning gold medallist) and Natalie Geisenberger (bronze in Vancouver, reigning world champion) of Germany, Nina Reithmayer of Austria and Natalia Khoreva of Russia.

Gough has some work to do after the first two runs Monday.

She is sitting fifth after two runs, 1.052 seconds off the pace set by Geisenberger. Huefner was second, 0.766 seconds off the pace.

Canada’s Arianne Jones was sitting 13th after two runs, 2.016 seconds back.

This is the third Olympics for Gough, who finished 18th in 2010 in Vancouver and 20th in 2006 in Turin.

In Vancouver, Gough was also looking to contend for a medal, but struggled after the start positions on what had been her long-time training track were shortened following the fatal Olympic crash of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili.

She has improved immensely since the last Olympics, however, consistently winning world championship and World Cup medals, including a silver in 2014.

After training Sunday, she said she’s feeling on form.

“I had two of my better runs so I’m in a good spot,” she said. “The key points are going to be obviously the start, coming clean around curve five, and then just letting her run.”

While Gough could sneak onto the podium, she’s in tough against some of the world’s finest lugers.

Germany has won the gold medal in women’s singles luge at every Olympics since 1998 in Nagano and swept the podium in 2002 in Salt Lake City.

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