ALTENBERG, Germany-Twenty-four sleds navigated the 17-curve course in the four-man bobsled World Championships in Altenberg, Germany today in summer conditions. Despite the sixty-degree temperature, the track record fell by nearly one second as World Cup Champion Andre Lange slid to a victory on his home track. Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) finished sixth today, which is podium position in World Championships."If you'd said I would have finished in the top six in Altenberg World Championships, I would have said you're crazy,"Holcomb said."This is just not my track. My worst results have been here, so to come out sixth is quite a fete for me."Holcomb teamed with Pavle Jovanovic (Tom's River, N.J.), Steve Mesler (Calgary, Alberta) and Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.) today. Team USA I pushed a start time of 5.23 in the first heat for a run of 54.21 seconds, keeping the team within medal position."The track was in totally different condition today than it was yesterday, which made it difficult for everybody,"Holcomb said."I cleaned up some spots, and we were able to maintain our sixth place position going into the final heat."Mesler suffered a small injury pushing in the first heat. The team mustered a push time of 5.32, but Holcomb was able to drive his Bo-Dyn sled to the finish in 54.90 seconds for a combined time of 3:39.52, keeping their sixth place result."This crowd is amazing,"Holcomb said."They cheer for everyone, which is really cool. This has been a great experience."At the finish while waiting for the award ceremony, Jovanovic turned to Holcomb and said,"That was absolutely the best run you've ever had in your career."Germany's Andre Lange swept the 2007-08 season, winning not only both two and four-man bobsled World Cup titles, but also claiming both World Championships titles by winning the four-man event today. Lange teamed with Rene Hoppe, Kevin Kuske, Martin Putze for the four fastest push times and runs of the competition, dominating the race with a combined time of 3:36.26. Lange crushed the track record by nearly one second, sliding a time of 53.17 seconds in the first heat today after a start time of 5.05 seconds. Lange and crew pushed a 5.06 in the second heat for a down time of 54.18, claiming the title by 2.02 seconds over the field. Alexander Zoubkov from Russia denied the Germans a sweep on their home track, finishing second today with a four-run combined time of 3:38.28. Teamed with Roman Orechnikov, Dmitry Trunenkov and Dmitry Stepushkin, Zoubkov pushed times of 5.15 and 5.18 for runs of 53.61 and 54.63, respectively. Matthias Hoepfner from Germany slid into third position with a total time of 3:38.85. Hoepfner teamed with Ronny Listner, Alexander Mann and Thomas Poege for push times of 5.26 and 5.22, sliding to the finish in 54.13 and 54.76, respectively. John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.) and his crew of Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas), Jacob Miller (Waterford, Va.) and Chris Fogt (Alpine, Utah) finished their first World Championships in 18th with a four-run total of 3:42.52."This is the most amazing experience of my life,"Napier said."I'm just in awe right now."The team pushed times of 5.33 and 5.30, one-tenth of a second faster than yesterday, for runs of 55.18 and 55.24, respectively."I had a great time,"Napier said with a grin."I didn't even notice how many people were in the crowd until we got down in the fourth run because I was so focused. I'm just ecstatic."Mike Kohn (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) and his USA II team of Jamie Moriarty (Winnetka, Ill.), TJ Burns (Blue Bell, Pa.) and Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) did not slide today due to sled damage from their crash in the second heat yesterday. The teams will return to the U.S. this week, and will conclude the season with equipment testing in Lake Placid, N.Y. For complete results of today's race, visit www.bobsleigh.com, the Web site of the Federation International de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganning (FIBT). Results: 1. Lange, Hoppe, Kuske and Putze (GER I) 3:36.26 (54.24, 54.67, 53.17, 54.18); 2. Zoubkov, Orechnikov, Trunenkov and Stepushkin (RUS I) 3:38.28 (54.62, 55.42, 53.61, 54.63); 3.Hoepfner, Listner, Mann and Poege (GER III) 3:38.85 (54.91, 55.05, 54.13, 54.76);_ 6. Holcomb, Jovanovic, Mesler and Kreitzburg/Tomasevicz (USA I) 3:39.52 (55.28, 55.13, 54.21, 54.90);_18. Napier, Olsen, Miller and Berkeley (USA I) 3:42.52 (56.18, 55.92, 55.18, 55.24);_ Kohn, Moriarty, Burns and Langton (USA II) 1:54.06 (56.07, 57.99, DNS, DNS); About the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation'
The United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. The USBSF would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: Allianz Life, Columbia Sportswear Company, Speedo, CW-X, KBC Helmets, ULU Boots, Racing Electronics, Schenker Logistics, Lumber Liquidators and Whelen Engineering. For more information, please visit the USBSF Web site at www.usbsf.com.