Calgarys Alex Gough led five Canadian sleds

WINTERBERG, Germany — Calgarys Alex Gough led five Canadian sleds into the top-15, and three in the top-10, in womens singles and doubles luge action at the World Cup on Sunday. Cary Williams Jersey . The 25-year-old was poised to head into the World Championships on her home track in Whistler with a podium finish while sitting in third after the opening run. However, a costly mistake in her second trip down the Winterberg track bumped her into sixth spot with a combined time of 1:53.210. “We are in the mix, but we just cannot afford to make mistakes,” said Wolfgang Staudinger, head coach of the Canadian luge team. “I think we had a pretty solid day by all of our girls. Kim McRae particularly had a good day and demonstrated a lot of potential.” McRae, from Calgary, had one of her best World Cup results, finishing ninth at 1:54.069. Two other Calgarians, Arianne Jones and Dayna Clay, rounded out the Canadian contingent in the top-15. Jones was 11th at 1:54.263, while Clay matched her personal best week in Germany placing 13th (1:54.487). Germany swept the womens podium as the World Cup completes five straight weeks on Germany tracks. Natalie Geisenberger was first at 1:52.916. Anke Wischnewski finished second with a time of 1:52.936, while Tatjana Hufner grabbed the bronze at 1:53.002. Canadas Tristan Walker and Justin Snith were back in action in mens doubles racing. Walker, of Cochrane, Alta., and Calgarys Snith finished ninth at 1:27.535. Austrias Andreas and Wolfgang Linger won the doubles race with a time of 1:26.938. Germanys Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecker were second at 1:26.907, while Italys Christian Oberstolz and Patrick Gruber slid to the bronze at 1:27.099. The top luge athletes in the world will now head to Whistler, B.C. as Canada readies itself to host the 2013 World Championships, Feb. 1-2 on the 2010 Olympic Track. “We are in good shape heading into the Worlds, but it is going to be any other race for us,” said Staudinger. “If we do our job, dont get ahead ourselves and be consistent, we can do well. Anything is possible.” Justin Tucker Youth Jersey . It was a good day for the Chicago White Sox. Pinch hitter Eduardo Escobar lined an RBI single in the 10th inning and the White Sox beat the Milwaukee Brewers 1-0 Sunday. Ray Lewis Ravens Jersey . Franklin, who swims for the United States but shares dual Canadian and American citizenship, posted a time of 58.33 seconds on her way to gold. Her time was just one-tenth of a second off the current Olympic record. . Vilmas latest legal manoeuvr Thursday came shortly after Goodell filed a motion to dismiss Vilmas defamation claims in connection with the leagues bounty investigation. Vilma has said his suspension is without merit and Goodell has made false public comments that have damaged Vilmas reputation and hurt his ability to make a living. Haloti Ngata Ravens Jersey . And over these two-plus decades, one constant remains – Sir Alex Fergusons annual summer jolly as he plots the downfall of his rivals. Justin Tucker Ravens Jersey . In a historic change at one of the worlds most exclusive golf clubs, Augusta National invited former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore to become the first female members since the club was founded in 1932. TORONTO — Lars Hirschfelds commitment to Canada was hard to miss Thursday. Under an ice pack on his right foot was a nasty bump, the size of a “camel hump” in his words. The ugly bone bruise came courtesy of a two-footed tackle from an opponent in a Norwegian league game two and a half weeks ago. “Im here to play,” the 33-year-old goalie from Edmonton declared after a closed practice at BMO Field. “It hurts like hell, but theres no excuses. “I played the last two games for my club (Oslos Valerenga Fotball) through pain. Thats just how it is.” Its every man to the pump for Canada, whose World Cup qualifying future will be determined over the next five days, with a home game against Cuba at BMO Field on Friday and a likely crucial clash in Honduras on Tuesday. No. 43 Panama (3-1-0) currently leads the group with nine points, followed by No. 66 Honduras and No. 61 Canada (both 2-1-1) at seven. Cuba, ranked 146 by FIFA, has no points after four straight losses. The top two teams advance to the six-country final round of qualifying in CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean. Panama hosts Honduras on Friday night in a game the Canadians will be watching closely. The Panamanians wraps up qualifying play in Cuba on Tuesday. Its been 15 years since Canada last made the final round in CONCACAF. And it didnt go well. The Canadians finished last in the group with a 1-6-3 record. Three of the six teams from the final round of CONCACAF qualifying will advance to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The fourth-place team will take part in an intercontinental playoff. Canadas lone visit to the World Cup was in 1986. If the current crop of Canadian players feel any pressure, they arent showing it. That comes straight from the top, where coach Stephen Hart exudes calm. “Hes the most laidback man Ive ever met,” forward Iain Hume said with a grin. “Hes great to work for and I think you can see that the way the guys train, the way the guys play. They do everything they can for him. Hes helped turn us into a team that plays football, rather than a football team.” Hart also has a good sense of humour and is creative when it comes to motivating his players, said captain Kevin McKenna. At a meeting Wednesday, for example, Hart showed the team a video of Tiger Woods famous chip at the 16th hole at the 2005 Masters — a long-range shot that saw the ball famously swerve en route before pausing on the lip and then rolling in. McKenna and Hirschfeld did not share the message that came with the video but the Canadian captain said its an example of Harts management style. “He comes with a different approach and I think everyone responds to it,&qquot; McKenna said. Torrey Smith Jersey. Hart was as relaxed as ever Thursday, despite acknowledging the coming schedule represented “the biggest” moment of his coaching career. “You know what? Any time I wake up and theres a game and I have players to work with, its like Christmas for me,” the Trinidad native said with a big smile. “Thats the way I look at it. This is the part I enjoy. “I really enjoy working with the players and having a game to work towards — and a game that really means something. You cant ask for more as a coach, really.” There is much at stake for the Canadian Soccer Association. In the wake of the public love-in for the womens team after the Olympics, the CSA must be dying to find out how the country would respond to the mens team joining the sports elite at the World Cup. Not to mention the money. Teams that exited after the first round of the 2010 World Cup earned US$8 million, in addition to the $1 million FIFA provided each finalist to prepare for the event. Thats big money for a Canadian association whose annual budget is about $20 million. Canadas defence has been stingy, giving up just two goals in four games. But its offence has yet to get untracked with just two goals in four qualifying outings. Of the 11 other CONCACAF teams in this round, only Cuba (with zero) has scored fewer goals. Canada is tied for offensive output with 0-3-1 Antigua and Barbuda, hardly a juggernaut in the region. Losing leading scorer Dwayne De Rosario to a knee injury in Panama has not helped the Canadian cause. Hart says he has been pleased with “certain aspects” of his teams play. “You always want to score more goals but if you look at how weve played defensively, behind the ball, how weve counter-attacked, some of the chances weve created, you cant really ask for more except for the finishing aspects of our game,” he said. “Its something I wish I could spend a couple of weeks with the forward players and getting that relationship right.” With goal difference the first tiebreaker, Honduras is plus-two compared to zero for Canada going into Fridays play. It was a brisk eight degrees during the Canadian late morning workout Thursday at BMO Field. The forecast calls for five degrees at game time Friday evening — hardly Mojito weather. “Its cold but I think its going to be colder for them,” said McKenna. Thursdays high was 33 degrees in Cuba, with a night-time low of 24 degrees. NOTES — Hart called the playing surface at BMO Field a little bumpy … Attacking midfielder-forward Will Johnson returns after serving a one-game suspension for yellow cards … CSA officials expect a crowd of at least 16,000. ‘ ‘ ‘

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