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Holcomb finishes seventh in sixth four-man bobsled World Cup race of season
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (Jan. 12, 2014)- Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) teamed with his Night Train2 crew of Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.), Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) and Chris Fogt (Alpine, Utah) for seventh in today’s four-man bobsled World Cup in St. Moritz. Holcomb felt a mix of emotions at the conclusion of the day. He was not only frustrated with his own performance, but he was also sympathetic to his USA-2 teammates who crashed in the final run while vying for a medal.
“The way you win a race is by pushing it as hard a you can and letting the sled fly,” Holcomb said. “You have to push it to the edge if you want to win. A lot of drivers play it safe and don’t push it like that, but those aren’t the best drivers. It’s the ones that go for it by taking it to that line as close as possible that win medals. Unfortunately the other side of it is you will tip over once in a while. It happened to us last week.”
Holcomb can commiserate. The 2010 Olympic champion and his crew were going full throttle for the medals in Winterberg, Germany last week when they crashed. The sled crossed the finish line for 20th place.
“It’s going to happen,” Holcomb said. “If you don’t think it ever will in your career, think again.”
USA-1 finished on the cusp of the medals this weekend in seventh. Holcomb, Tomasevicz, Langton and Fogt powered the sled off the start block in 5.07 seconds for a first run of 1:05.23 to put them in fifth position heading into the final heat. The crew bettered their start by 0.02 seconds, and Holcomb was eager to climb into the medals. A skid and slight bump against the wall was enough to hold the team back, and USA-1 dropped two spots with a two-run total of 2:10.29.
“All of the drivers on the World Cup level are phenomenal at what they do, and you can’t see how hard we are working under the sled to drive,” Holcomb said. “Trust me, I didn’t drive into that wall. It’s a near frictionless surface, and there’s very little grip. When you break into a skid, there’s nothing you can really do. There are some little tricks to straighten it out, but you have to be careful not to overcorrect.”
Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) and his crew of Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas), Johnny Quinn (McKinney, Texas) and Dallas Robinson (Georgetown, Ky.) matched USA-1’s push time of 5.07 seconds to give Cunningham a medal contending start to the first run. Cunningham maintained that momentum and piloted the team to third position with a run time of 1:05.05.
The crew once again pushed a start time of 5.07 seconds in the second heat as they vied for the medals. Cunningham didn’t hold anything back and was on pace for his best finish this season, but a mistake lower on the track caused the sled to flip over. Robinson wasn’t able to hang on in the final corner, and the team was disqualified for not crossing the finish with all four team members. Cunningham looked anguished as he climbed out of the sled.
“This hurts the team morale a bit, but we have a couple more races to go,” Holcomb said. “We’ll keep fighting the good fight.”
Latvian Oskars Melbardis bounced back from 23rd in last weekend’s race to secure his first victory of the season today. Melbardis teamed with Daumants Dreiskens, Arvis Vilkaste and Janis Strenga for a total time of 2:09.52 to claim gold.
“It’s good to see Melbardis put together two consistent runs,” Holcomb said. “Of course I wanted to be on the other side of that, but what can you do.”
Alexander Zubkov, Alexey Negodaylo, Dmitry Trunenkov and Alexey Voevoda from Russia were second with a combined time of 2:09.75. Germans Maximilian Arndt, Marko Huebenbecker, Alexander Roediger and Martin Putze slid a two-run total of 2:09.97 to claim bronze.
Cory Butner (Yucaipa, Calif.) crashed during training this week and was not eligible to race in the four-man competition.
The four-man race concludes the St. Moritz event. Teams will travel to Igls, Austria for the sixth stop on tour, and the Olympic nominations will take place next weekend. Please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-354-2250 with media inquiries.
1. Melbardis, Dreiskans, Vilkaste, and Strenga (LAT) 2:09.52 (1:04.75, 1:04.77); 2. Zubkov, Negodaylo, Trunenkov, and Voevoda (RUS) 2:09.75 (1:04.79, 1:04.96); 3. Arndt, Huebenbecker, Roediger, and Putze (GER) 2:09.97 (1:05.08, 1:04.89);…7. Holcomb, Tomasevicz, Langton and Fogt (USA) 2:10.29 (1:05.23, 1:05.06); …Cunningham, Olsen, Quinn and Robinson (USA) (1:05.05, DNF);
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