Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager
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Difficult race for U.S. two-man bobsled team
KOENIGSSEE, Germany (Jan. 14, 2012)–The challenging Koenigssee track proved difficult for the U.S. team in the men’s bobsled World Cup race today. Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) and Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas) teamed together for 10th place, followed closely by John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.) and Chris Fogt (Alpine, Utah) in 12th. Head coach Brian Shimer had mixed feelings about the results, and expects the team to better their performance in tomorrow’s four-man race.
“Holcomb’s a champion, and if he couldn’t put things behind him he wouldn’t have achieved greatness in his career,” Shimer said. “If anything, athletes like that dip deeper and come back with a vengeance. Napier came through with a solid finish after what’s been a tough start to the season for him so far, and he really put together one of the best runs of the day. We’re really hoping to see both teams back in the medals.”
Holcomb was once again met with blustery conditions in his first heat. Team USA-1 pushed the Under Armour sled off the block in 4.92 seconds and was in seventh position after posting a finish time of 50.44 seconds. Holcomb looked disappointed as he got out of the sled and gave the camera a shrug. The duo had another decent start time of 4.91 seconds, but a mistake on the lower portion of the course sent the sled into a skid that cost the team much needed time. Holcomb and Olsen crossed the finish with a two-run total of 1:40.93, moving the team into 10th position.
“We were trying some different runner setups and we knew it would be hit or miss,” Shimer said. “You have to drive perfectly or you’re going to float a little, and that’s what happened. The sled skid before going into an uphill entrance to a 360-degree corner, so mistakes will multiply. He lost his speed there, and it’s too short a track to overcome that kind of deficit.”
National Guardsman Napier and Army Soldier-athlete Fogt teamed together as USA-2 for one of their best finishes of the season after posting a combined time of 1:40.99 for 12th place. The war veterans posted consistent starts of 4.99 and 4.98 seconds, and Napier guided the Alamo sled to the finish for flawless runs of 50.61 and 50.38 seconds.
“It was a good day for Napier,” Shimer said. “Hopefully we’ll see him continue to progress in standings. His starts are still holding him back, but he’s proved he is one of the best pilots in the world.”
Beat Hefti and Thomas Lamparter secured their second win of the season for Switzerland. Hefti piloted his sled to the finish in 1:39.91 to lead the field of 26 sleds by 0.30 seconds. Canadians Lyndon Rush and Jesse Lumsden were second with a two-run total of 1:40.21, while Manuel Machata and Andreas Bredau were the only German team to medal on their home track after finishing third with a total time of 1:40.33.
The U.S. has another chance to medal in tomorrow’s four-man event, which begins at 1:30 pm local time.
“We can’t deviate from the goal, which is taking the world title back later this year on our home soil in Lake Placid, N.Y.,” Shimer said. “We’ll build from these mistakes. We’ll take the wind, the snow, the driver errors and get them out of the way now, so hopefully we’ve used up the bad stuff and can put together the best runs of the season to win World Championships.”
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1. Beat Hefti and Thomas Lamparter (SUI) 1:39.91 (50.04, 49.87); 2. Lyndon Rush and Jesse Lumsden (CAN) 1:40.21 (50.23, 49.98); 3. Manuel Machata and Andreas Bredau (GER) 1:40.33 (50.34, 49.99);…10. Steven Holcomb and Justin Olsen (USA) 1:40.93 (50.44, 50.49);…12. John Napier and Chris Fogt (USA) 1:40.99 (50.61, 50.38);
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.