With each passing week, Calgary's Alex Gough is treading deeper into uncharted waters for the Canadian Luge Association, this week winning a gold medal at the World Cup in Paramonova, Russia.
It was the fifth record that Gough set for the team this season - third Canadian to win a World Cup medal, first Canadian to win two medals, first Canadian to win three medals, first Canadian to win a world championship medal, and now first Canadian to win a FIL-sanctioned event.
The gold medal was not only big for Canada; it was big for the world. German women have won every single World Cup gold medal since an Austrian athlete won gold on Nov. 29, 1997.
"You cannot even imagine what it was like around the finish line when a Canadian finally ended this streak," said Canadian coach Wolfgang Staudinger. "This is not just history in Canada, but this is luge history in the world. We are very happy and will have to party as a team tonight."
For her part, Gough was ecstatic putting on her fifth medal this season.
"This is absolutely fantastic, I still can't believe it," she said. "I always knew that this winning streak would come to an end one day, but I never thought that I would be the one to do it. This track is new for all of us. There is no one who can claim a home advantage. I'm extremely happy."
Gough noted that the result came on the one-year anniversary of the start of the 2010 Winter Games. Canada did not win a medal in luge, but she gave credit for her recent success to all of her pre-Games preparation, as well as the boost in funding her sport received.
"It has been an incredible year and I just feel like so much of the hard work over the last six years is really paying off," she said. "This is huge and incredible for not only me but our program in Canada. We have to keep building and growing from this."
German sliders occupied the next three spots in the standings with Carina Schwab second, Natalie Beisenberger third and Tatjana Hufner fourth.
There were no bobsleigh or skeleton events this past weekend, but there was a World Cup the previous week at Cesana, Italy.
The Canada 2 sled of pilot Helen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown won the women's event, while the Canada 1 sled, Olympic gold medallists Kaillee Humphries and Heather Moyse, placed fifth.
"We have such high expectations as a team, and the results haven't been as great as we wanted, so I was a little adventurous in training and tried a new sled," said Upperton. "The team was joking that 'Fernando' would be jealous I was cheating on him. It was a fun test, but the other sled just didn't work so I went back to Fernando for the race."
Lyndon Rush and Neville Wright managed to jump from eighth to fourth in two-man bobsleigh, finishing just off the podium.
Rush and Wright, joined by Justin Wilkinson and Cody Sorensen, got a little redemption in four-man bobsleigh, where they placed third overall behind the Russia 1 and Latvia 1 teams.
"My goal was to be consistent this year, and I wasn't," said Rush. "I had too many crashes and that hurt me this year because you wreck your equipment and you wreck your guys. It was a good day today and nice to get this for the guys."