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Sam Edney becomes first Canadian male singles winner in World Cup luge history

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CALGARY, Alberta — Sam Edney became the first Canadian male singles champion in World Cup luge history Saturday, winning on his hometown track.

The 30-year-old Edney finished in 46.146 seconds. Race officials reduced the competition to one run because of bad weather and poor track conditions.

Edney led after the first heat, by that was nullified by race officials because of "track conditions." With Canadian team officials agitated at the finishing dock below, Edney put on the helmet designed especially for him and the race and put down an even faster time in the second heat.

The helmet depicting a snarling bear and raking claws had been presented to him a day earlier by 19-year-old artist Richard Flamenco, who has a rare incurable skin disease that causes painful blisters. Flamenco stood with Edney at the finish line. Together, they watched as the remaining sliders fell short of Edney's time.

"There was a sense of calmness today with this helmet," Edney said. "It's hard to explain, but as soon as I put that helmet on, it felt like I had all this confidence and all this strength and I felt like I could put down two really good runs."

Chris Mazdzer of Saranac Lake, New York, won the men's sprint after finishing third in singles.

PHOTO: Canada's Samuel Edney during the men's World Cup luge event in Calgary, Alberta, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)
Canada's Samuel Edney during the men's World Cup luge event in Calgary, Alberta, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)

"My run in the World Cup was awesome," Mazdzer said. "And my run in the sprint was just me letting it fly and being as relaxed as possible."

Canada's Alex Gough won the women's sprint to cap Canada's most successful World Cup event.

Erin Hamlin of Remsen, New York, was second, 0.010 seconds back. German star Natalie Geisenberger was third, a day after edging Gough in singles.

In the men's singles race, Olympic champion Felix Loch of Germany was second in 46.255.

"When I got up and saw the weather, I knew that it was going to be a funny day," Loch said. "It was definitely the right decision to cut the first run short."

Mazdzer finished in 46.263 to earn his third World Cup medal.

"That was one of the maddest races I've ever been in," Mazdzer said. "My second run was one of my best ever, I felt as though I were flying over the ice."

Tucker West of Ridgefield, Connecticut, was seventh, a week after getting his first World Cup win at the Lake Placid, New York, stop. Aidan Kelly of West Islip, New York, was 20th.

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PHOTO: Canada's Samuel Edney celebrates his win at the men's World Cup luge event in Calgary, Alberta, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)
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