PARK CITY, Utah (Nov. 17, 2012) – Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) and his four-man bobsled push crew of Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.), Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas) and Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.) claimed their second consecutive silver medal in front of a home crowd at the Utah Olympic Park today. USA-1 crossed the finish line amid cheers to finish second in a field of 26 sleds to cap the Park City World Cup event.
“I’ll take second place- it’s still second in a World Cup race,” Holcomb said. “Unfortunately I’m the number one loser, but I’ll take it. My wonderful friends brought that up to me.”
USA-1 was in the zone and powered off the starting block with identical push times of 4.79 seconds and clocked runs of 48.04 and 48.34 seconds. Their combined time of 1:36.38 was good enough for silver, but not enough to trump RUS-1.
“The pushes were pretty good,” Holcomb said. “Those guys definitely have two consistent pushes which is what we need and kept me in the race. I was able to make a few mistakes and still able to maintain second place. I’m happy with that.”
Russian Alexander Zubkov teamed with Alexey Negodaylo, Dmitry Trunenkov and Maxim Mokrousov for a total time of 1:36.26 to finish 0.12 seconds ahead of the Americans. Manuel Machata from Germany trailed USA-1 by only 0.02 seconds to earn bronze with a combined time of 1:36.40.
“It was close,” Holcomb said. “It was good racing today and yesterday. It’s incredible…. I like it when races are close like that, if you’re on the right side of it of course.”
Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) burst onto the international scene by winning bronze in last week’s four-man race, and was on the brink of breaking into the top three again today. Cunningham and his crew of Adam Clark (Owenton, Ky.), Andreas Drbal (Belmont, Calif.) and Chris Fogt (Alpine, Utah) were in fifth after the first heat, and were eager to climb up in the final run. USA-2 beat out every sled at the start with a monstrous push time of 4.78 seconds, just six-hundredths from the record, but their two-run total of 1:36.72 wasn’t enough to move them up from fifth.
“The fact that we are one of the best push crews in the world, it really does motivate me,” Cunningham said. “It does [put pressure one me], but when I try to drive errorless is when I start messing up. We’re all a really close-knit group. It’s not just our team, but USA-1, USA-2 and USA-3, we’re all a bunch of buddies. I really think that’s why we’re all pushing each other, and you can’t beat camaraderie on Team USA.”
Cory Butner (Yucaipa, Calif.), yesterday’s two-man bobsled silver medalist, continues to struggle in the four-man event. The team experimented with some different sled set-ups by changing runners this week and bettered their 20th place result from last week by six positions. Butner teamed with Chuck Berkeley (Walnut Creek, Calif.), Nic Taylor (Hayward, Calif.) and Johnny Quinn (McKinney, Texas) for a combined time of 1:37.20 to finish 14th.
“I don’t think we should be that slow, but it’s a good rebound day from last week,” Butner said. “We found our problem, why we were slow, and it was just a tight race.”
The four-man bobsled race concludes the Park City event. Athletes depart tomorrow for the third stop on tour in Whistler, British Columbia.
1. Zubkov, Negodaylo, Trunenkov and Mokrousov (RUS) 1:36.26 (47.95, 48.31); 2. Holcomb, Olsen, Langton and Tomasevicz (USA) 1:36.38 (48.34, 48.34); 3. Machata, Bermbach, Speer and Poser (GER) 1:36.40 (48.07, 48.33);…5. Cunningham, Clark, Drbal and Fogt (USA) 1:36.72 (48.30, 48.42);…14. Butner, Berkeley, Quinn and Taylor (USA) 1:37.20 (48.36, 48.84);