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Holcomb and Langton in second after first day of two-man bobsled World Championships
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (Feb. 18, 2012)–Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) and Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) are 0.12 seconds from making history. Team USA-1 wrapped up the first day of men’s racing at Mt. Van Hoevenberg in second position, and are on track to be the first U.S. team to win the two-man World Championship crown. The crew took a risk by competing in a different sled for the first time today, but Holcomb confirmed the risk was worth it.
“We’ve never won this title, so we had to change something up,” Holcomb said. “We just took a shot. If it worked, it worked and if it didn’t, it didn’t. Another quote that I’ve always lived by is ‘to win you have to risk loss,’ and if we lost today then at least we tried.”
The team started strong with a push time of 5.05 seconds, but Holcomb lost his grasp of a medal contending run after skidding through the chicane. Holcomb and Langton crossed the finish tied for fourth position with a time of 55.96 seconds, but the veteran duo wasn’t fazed by the result.
“Huge mistake in the first run,” Holcomb tweeted from the start house before the second run. “Sitting in 4th. Got it figured out. Time to make my move.”
“I’m known for my tweeting,” Holcomb said. “The coaches hate it, but sometimes you’ve just got to get grounded and back to your normal life for a minute. I can’t just sit there for an hour and think about my first run. I had a mistake that cost me some time; I knew what I did wrong and how to fix it.”
Holcomb and Langton powered the Under Armour sled off the block in 5.02 seconds, just one-hundredth from the start record in the second run. USA-1 clocked the fastest run of the heat, 55.75 seconds, to gain two spots with a total time of 1:51.71. With two runs remaining, Holcomb and Langton are in silver medal position and within striking distance of the title.
“We’re going to go back and recover the best we can and come back out tomorrow and see what we can do,” Holcomb said. “It’s going to be some tough racing. The U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, U.S. Olympic Committee, Olympic Regional Development Authority and the Olympic Training Center staff have all been really supportive by making sure we have everything that we need to win tomorrow.”
Canadians Lyndon Rush and Jesse Lumsden currently lead with a combined time of 1:51.59, although they have an evening to worry about holding their lead against a hungry American team. Maximilian Arndt and Kevin Kuske are the best hope for a German medal in the two-man event. They are currently in third with a cumulative time of 1:51.80.
National Guardsman John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.) and Army soldier Chris Fogt (Alpine, Utah) put together a solid performance in the Alamo sled and will enter tomorrow’s final heats in seventh position. The pair pushed off the block in 5.18 and 5.20 seconds for runs of 56.04 and 56.10 seconds. Napier and Fogt were upset with their final run today, and hope to gain the 0.07 seconds that separates the crew from a top six result.
“We were pretty happy on the first run, and it feels good for us to be fast again and to be in the top ten,” Napier said. “We’re sliding well, but we’ve just got to fix a few things. I made an error at the top and that pretty much didn’t allow Chris to push any further down the ramp. So tomorrow we’ll correct that and hopefully be faster at the start.”
Even though USA-2 expressed their disappointment with the first day of racing, Napier and Fogt agreed that it was wonderful to be racing at home.
“It’s great to be back home,” Fogt said. “There’s lots of noise up top, lots of people cheering. It really helps us to get fired up with all the USA chants. It’s been awesome to have friends and family here to support us.”
USA-3 of Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) and Dallas Robinson (Georgetown, Ky.) made their World Championship debut today and helped place all U.S. sleds in the top 10. Cunningham and Robinson were in a three-way tie for 10th after the first heat, and Cunningham drove like a champion to destroy the tie to claim the 10th position.
“The first run, we just threw out there to get our feet wet. The beauty of World Championships is that you get four runs,” Cunningham said. “The second run is really where we thought we would be, top ten, and it’s where we wanted to be going into tomorrow and the last two heats. Now its time to make a statement to the world and try to get up to top six.”
Although this is only Cunningham’s second season driving, he proved he’s a force to be reckoned with by posting the third fastest run of the second heat. The crew clocked the fastest speed of all 29 sleds, and will enter the finals with a two-run total of 1:52.21.
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The women's bobsled finals are tonight at 5 pm, and the men's two-man bobsled finals are at 9 am tomorrow.
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1. Lyndon Rush and Jesse Lumsden (CAN) 1:51.59 (55.71, 55.88); 2. Steven Holcomb and Steve Langton (USA) 1:51.71 (55.96, 55.75); 3. Maximilian Arndt and Kevin Kuske (GER) 1:51.90 (55.78, 56.02);…7. John Napier and Chris Fogt (US) 1:52.14 956.04, 56.10);…10. Nick Cunningham and Dallas Robinson (USA) 1:52.21 (56.29, 55.92);
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 of North America, Under Armour, United States National Guard, Kampgrounds of America, National Strength and Conditioning Association, Vivat!, Global Forwarding, KBC Helmets, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, EDAS/Ripxx, UberSense, Tesa Tape and Ferris Mfg. Corp. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org.