Sam Edney feels better than after a year off of competition.
In 2015-16, the 32-year-old from Calgary concentrated on finishing his commerce degree, as well as ridding himself of nagging injuries that plagued him after 16 years of competition.
Edney was back with a bang at the National Luge Championships at the Whistler Sliding Centre on Saturday, passing Mitchel Malyk in his second run to take the men's title. Edney edged Malyk by 0.063 seconds. Whistler junior Reid Watts was third, 0.466 seconds back. Squamish's Nicky Klimchuk-Brown was fourth.
"For me, I'm coming back with a really fresh mindset and a change of perspective on what my goals are. Obviously, the end goal is purely a medal or bust at PyeongChang," Edney said, later saying he plans to retire after the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. "It's come back with a weight off my shoulders with school being done and knowing that I'm working toward one strict goal."
On the women's side, Alex Gough led all the way through and bested Kim McRae by 0.153 seconds. Rachel Klassen took third, sitting 0.298 seconds back, while Mount Currie's Jenna Spencer was fifth.
Gough was also focusing on school last season, working toward her engineering degree, but with the Games approaching, she's back to being all-in in her sport.
"I've been split between going to school and competing the past two years. This is my first full go with competing and it's nice to come out and win Canadian Championships here," Gough said. "I'm looking forward to what's coming for the rest of the season."
In the doubles event, Tristan Walker and Justin Snith took the title by 1.347 seconds over Matt Riddle and Adam Shippit.