Christie earns ticket to Turin

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:40 PM ET

There was good and bad news for Canadian luger Jeff Christie.

On the positive side, the Calgarian enjoyed his best-ever finish on the World Cup circuit, ending up fifth yesterday at Canada Olympic Park.

But, on the other hand, Christie had second place firmly in his grasp after the first run -- with a great shot at a medal -- but blew it on his second trip down the track.

Afterwards, the 22-year-old said he was thrilled with the result which guarantees him a berth on the Canadian team for the upcoming Turin Olympics Feb. 10-26.

"I would have liked to have been on the podium but I can't say I'm disappointed with fifth,"said Christie, who was 12th at last season's world championship.

"I'm pretty happy with it. The first run I didn't have any cares, I just let it go down and the second run, I was a little tense. I wasn't quite as relaxed as I should be and maybe that's where the time went."

Russia's Albert Demtschenko, the World Cup leader, won with a two-run combined time of one minute 30.468 seconds, while the legend, Germany's Georg Hackl, picked up the silver in 1:30.619.

For Hackl, it's likely his final run at COP as he may retire after the Turin Olympics, where he'll chase an unprecedented sixth Olympic medal from six different Winter Games.

David Moeller, also of Germany and last year's winner, took third in 1:30.658.

Christie finished in 1:30.808.

His first run clocked at 45.343, while his second was 45.465, not that much of a difference but enough to drop him three spots.

Heading into that second run, Christie was .004 seconds behind the first-run leader Hackl and nearly .10 seconds ahead of American John Myles.

Christie, who gains a ton of confidence from the result, noted he still has a bit of work to do before he can make a push to be a consistent medal threat on the World Cup circuit.

"Today I had trouble in curve six and the labyrinth wasn't very good, so I've got to clean that up before I can start looking at equipment," he said, adding the team is still looking for that killer instinct.

"We've still got to foster a winning attitude on the team. We know we can do well but we've never really gone out and done it. We all know we can do it."

Calgary's Sam Edney, 21, tied his career best result, finishing 14th. Edney was fourth after the first run. Ian Cockerline, another Calgarian, finished 27th.

Meanwhile, in the team event, which could become part of the Olympics in 2010, Canada grabbed a podium position, finishing third.

Anchored by Christie, the Canadians included the doubles team of Mike and Chris Moffat, of Calgary, and Red Deer's Regan Lauscher, who had the fastest women's run.

The U.S. was first, followed by Austria in second.


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