Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager
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BMW Night Train claims World Championship bronze
KÖNIGSSEE, Germany (Feb. 27, 2011)- The BMW Night Train four-man bobsled team claimed the 2011 World Championship bronze medal in Königssee, Germany today, exactly one year after winning Olympic gold in Whistler, British Columbia.
“Today started as a special day, because it’s the same day we won gold,” said Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah), pilot of the Night Train. “I want to win every competition I compete in, but I’m really happy with third. Winning bronze in Germany is huge. The Germans take their bobsledding very seriously, so it feels good to claim a medal on their turf.”
Holcomb and his crew of Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas), Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) and Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.) were 0.04 seconds from the podium after the first day of competition. The crew remained in fourth position behind Russian Alexander Zubkov after the third heat, leaving many to wonder if a medal for USA I was out of reach.
After trying several different lines through a four-curve combination named the “snake pit,” Holcomb finally nailed it. The 2009 world champion threaded together a nearly perfect run to post the second fastest time of the final heat, 49.98 seconds. Team USA I waited at the finish as Zubkov and crew started their final run.
“I’m kicking myself for not getting it right the first three runs,” Holcomb said. “We made up three-tenths of a second in one run. If I hadn’t made those mistakes in the other runs, we could have defended our title. I guess that’s bobsledding, but it doesn’t mean I like it.”
Zubkov made some major mistakes on the upper portion of the course and his bad luck continued through the “snake pit.” The Russian squad posted only the eighth fastest final heat, moving the team out of medal contention and 0.19 seconds behind USA I. The BMW Night Train posted a four-run total of 3 minutes, 17.26 seconds to nab bronze.
“It feels great to have a good run pay off,” Holcomb said. “I was frustrated in two-man because I felt like my runs were great, but the time wasn’t there. Being able to stand at the finish and see the work pay off is amazing.”
USA I also maintained their dominance as the most powerful push team in the world by once again clocking the fastest start times. Olsen, Langton and Tomasevicz combined forces to burst the BMW Night Train off the block in the lead with start times of 4.82 and 4.84 seconds.
“Those guys definitely pushed world championship pushes today,” Holcomb said. “If it wasn’t for those starts, we wouldn’t have kept ourselves in the game. I made some driving errors, so we would have been way out of the mix without them. Those guys are the real winners out here today.”
Manuel Machata started the season by winning gold in his World Cup debut, and concluded the season with a world title. Machata teamed with Richard Adjei, Andreas Bredau and Christian Poser to continue German dominance on their home track. The crew clocked a combined time of 3:16.58 to claim gold with a lead of 0.52 seconds.
“Next season Machata is on my home turf for worlds. Then we’ll see how things go,” Holcomb said. The 2012 World Championship event returns to Lake Placid, N.Y., where Holcomb’s team was victorious in 2009.
German teammates Karl Angerer, Christian Friedrich, Alex Mann and Gregor Bermbach maintained their silver medal position after sliding a total time of 3:17.10. Angerer’s crew tied USA I for the fastest start times today.
American diver John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.) didn’t waste any time transitioning from the sandbox to the icebox after a six-month deployment in Afghanistan. Napier jumped right back into world-class competition, and is somewhat relieved to conclude the season so he can finally return home.
“I’ve been away from home for way too long and will be grateful to get back tomorrow,” Napier said. “I didn’t take the time to acclimate back to bobsled life after being in Afghanistan, and I didn’t expect it to be this tough and stressful. I’m glad I did it for the rookies so they were able to get some experience in worlds, but it’s definitely been really hard for me. I hope people are still proud of me, but I’m ready to get home now. I have a lot of work to do to get myself back in shape before next season.”
Napier teamed with Jared Clugston (Red Hill, Pa.), Laszlo Vandracsek (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Jesse Beckom (Chicago, Ill.) for 19th place after clocking a combined time of 3:20.05 in their Alamo Rent A Car sled. Team USA II pushed consistent start times of 4.97 and 4.98 in today’s final two heats for runs of 50.44 and 51.09 seconds, respectively.
First year pilot Cory Butner (Yucaipa, Calif.) teamed with rookies Codie Bascue (Whitehall, N.Y.), Kameron Hart (Alta Loma, Calif.) and Johnny Quinn (McKinney, Texas) to finish 28th. The crew posted a 5.13 start time and slid to the finish in 51.56 seconds, missing the cutoff for the final run. Butner along with Bascue, just 16-years-old, and novice push athletes Hart and Quinn are a part of U.S. team efforts to increase depth in the program over the next quad.
Watch the bobsled and skeleton World Championship events on Universal Sports from Feb. 28 through March 5 at 9 pm EST each evening.
For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at email@example.com, or at (518) 354-2250. Follow the team on the USBSF Twitter page at http://twitter.com/USBSF, or on the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation Facebook group page. Watch athlete interviews and check out the action on the abirdbobsled YouTube channel.
1. Machata, Adjei, Bredau and Poser (GER) 3:16.58 (48.65, 48.79, 49.26, 49.88); 2. Angerer, Friedrich, Mann and Bermbach (GER) 3:17.10 (48.74, 48.92, 49.31, 50.13); 3. Holcomb, Olsen, Langton and Tomasevicz (USA) 3:17.26 (48.81, 49.01, 49.46, 49.98);…19. Napier, Clugston, Vandracsek and Beckom (USA) 3:20.05 (49.31, 49.21, 50.44, 51.09);…28. Butner, Bascue, Hart and Quinn (USA) 2:31.71 (50.15, 50.00, 51.56, 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: BMW Group, Under Armour, Vilter Manufacturing, Kampgrounds of America, KBC Helmets, Graph-Tex, EDAS/Ripxx, Alamo Rent A Car, Tesa Tape and Ferris Mfg. Corp. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org.