Sleet and Snow Cancel Second Heat; Holcomb Slides to Seventh in Single Heat Four-man Bobsled Race

Dec. 07, 2008, 7:58 a.m. (ET)

Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager

(518) 523-1842, ext 106,


For Immediate Release

December 7, 2008



Sleet and Snow Cancel Second Heat; Holcomb Slides to Seventh in Single Heat Four-man Bobsled Race


ALTENBERG, Germany– Four-man bobsled competition in Altenberg, Germany concluded the second weekend of World Cup action today.  Twenty-five sleds navigated the course in mixed conditions of sleet and snow in the first heat. Drivers blindly steered their sleds down the 17-curved track, and second heat times were canceled after sixteen sleds had already crossed the finish line with a two-run combined time.



To watch this event on-demand, please visit



“I’m really disappointed,” said Brian Shimer, men’s bobsled head coach and 2002 Olympic bronze medalist.   "I think we could have won this race.”



Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah), who claimed silver in yesterday’s two-man event, was in seventh position after the first heat with a run of 57.23 seconds.  Holcomb’s crew of Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas), Steve Mesler (Calgary, Alberta) and Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.) pushed a start time of 5.35 seconds through a snow-filled start groove. 



Holcomb’s team was eager to dig their way onto the podium, and mustered a start time of 5.19 seconds in wet conditions. Holcomb, who steers his sled based on feeling rather than sight, was able to improve his first heat time by over one second with a run of 56.09.



Following Holcomb’s run, a Latvian sled driven by a young pilot, Edgars Maskalans, crashed.  Snow continued to fall during the hold on the track, leading to the Jury’s decision to cancel second heat times despite only four sleds remaining in the start order. 



“It was snowing in the first heat as well, so conditions were the same for everyone in both heats," said Shimer.  "Holcomb had the raw end of the deal in the first heat, but he was able to come back in the second run. It was hit or miss, and it was equal for everyone.  If one heat was unfair, then both heats were unfair.  All of the sleds sped up in the second run, so the conditions weren’t getting any worse.”



Once the second heat was canceled, Holcomb’s team finished seventh with a one-heat time of 57.23.

The German team of Karl Angerer, Andreas Udvari, Matej Juhart and Gregor Bermbach claimed gold with a one-heat time of 56.58.  Reigning Olympic and World Champion Andre Lange teamed with Alexander Roediger, Kevin Kuske and Martin Putze for a run of 56.77 to claim silver, tying the Russian crew of Alexsandr Zubkov, Roman Oreshnikov, Dmitry Trunenkov and Dmitry Stepushkin.  Latvians Janis Minins, Daumants Dreiskens, Oskars Melbardis and Intars Dambis slid a time of 56.86 for the bronze.  The top four sleds were the only sleds to not take a second run prior to the cancellation. 



Todd Hays (Del Rio, Texas), blinded by sleet on his face shield, crossed the finish line in 57.72 seconds after the first heat for 20th place.  Teamed with TJ Burns (Blue Bell, Pa.), Bill Schuffenhauer (Ogden, Utah) and Jacob Miller(Waterford, Va.), team Hays pushed a start time of 5.37 through the snow. 



The U.S. team was able to move up four positions in the second heat with a time of 56.72 seconds before the second run was cancelled, leaving Hays with a 20th place result in today’s competition.



Coverage from today’s competition can be viewed on-demand by visiting  Universal Sports TV will also offer a one-hour highlight show on Tuesday, Dec. 11th from 6-7 pm ET.



Complete results can be found by visiting the web site for the Federation Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing at  For additional information, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at (518) 523-1842, ext. 106, or




1. Angerer, Udvari, Juhart and Bermbach (GER) 56.58; 2. Lange, Roediger, Kuske and Putze (GER) 56.77; 3. Zubkov, Oreshnikov, Trunenkov and Stepushkin (RUS) 56.77;…7. Holcomb, Olsen, Mesler and Tomasevicz (USA) 57.23;…20.Hays, Burns, Schuffenhauer and Miller (USA) 57.72;


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, Vilter Manufacturing, KBC Helmets, Luminox Watch Company and ULU Boots. The USBSF would also like to thank the following sponsors and suppliers for their partner, the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project:  Whelen Engineering, PPG, Columbia Sportswear, JEGS Automotive, Lucas Oil, Mac Tools and Racing Electronics.  For more information, please visit the USBSF website at