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"If you focus on the negative you're only going to dig yourself into a deeper hole."
For Neilson's part, he also hoped to slide better. "I feel okay," he said. "I know I could have been a little better, but I'll take that (fifth) every day. But the difference when I look at fourth is a pretty big gap."
There was an upset on the podium as Germany slider Frank Rommel upset the Latvian Dukurs brothers, Martins and Tomass, bumping them to second and third in the rankings. Martins has now won eight of the last nine races.
The track did get noticeably slower in the evening as the temperature dropped and frost started to form on the track.
Luge athletes net two in Austria
Calgary luger Alex Gough started her World Cup season at Igls, Austria on a positive note, winning a bronze medal. She actually set a track record on her first run, but that was beaten by German's Anke Wischnewski a little later. Natalie Geisenberger of Germany placed second, while German sliders also placed fourth and fifth behind Gough.
"I worked very hard this summer to bring the focus back to myself and away from things that I can't control because I do believe I perform better if that's where my focus is," said Gough. "I think last season I started weighing myself down with expectations, but I know if I pull fast starts and have clean runs I can be right there, and I was able to do that today."
Arianne Jones placed eighth for Canada, while Kim McRae placed 13th.
In men's doubles, Tristan Walker and Justin Snith placed seventh — their best result yet on a European track.
In men's luge, Sam Edney was the top Canadian in 15th.
The final event was the team relay; an event where each nation enters a female, male and doubles teams, and the athlete up top has to wait for their teammate to trigger the start gate. Canada was on the podium twice last season in the event, and placed second overall at Igls.
"It's nice to show we still have it in the first race of the year," said Edney.
"But there remains a gap between us and the Germans and we need to focus on closing that. When we broke into the medals a few years ago we were a young team with potential. We have all matured to the point where we know what we want to achieve and can achieve."
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