Holcomb and Hays Finish in Top Six in Igls, Austria Two-man Bobsled Race

Dec. 13, 2008, 7:03 a.m. (ET)

Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager

(518) 523-1842, ext 106, abird@usbsf.com


For Immediate Release

December 13, 2008


Holcomb and Hays Finish in Top Six

in Igls, Austria Two-man Bobsled Race


IGLS, Austria–The U.S. team claimed two of the top six finishes in today’s men’s two-man bobsled World Cup competition in Igls, Austria.  Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) and Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas) coasted down the 15-curves of the course for the bronze medal, and celebrated with teammates Todd Hays (Del Rio, Texas) and Alex Sprague (Indianapolis, Ind.), who finished sixth. 


Coverage from today’s competition can be viewed on-demand by visiting www.UniversalSports.com.  Universal Sports TV will also offer a one-hour highlight show on Tuesday, Dec. 16th at 9 pm EST. 


“It’s exciting to have both of our teams finish in the top six to take part in the awards ceremony,” said Brian Shimer, U.S. men’s bobsled coach and 2002 Olympic bronze medalist.  “We’re where we want to be, and both teams are sliding well.”


Holcomb and Olsen slid a combined time of 1:44.75 to claim the bronze medal against a field of 26 sleds. 


“It’s good to be in the top three,” said Holcomb.  “The second heat was canceled last week in the four-man race, and I feel like we lost a medal because of it.  Today is a statement that you can’t keep us out.”


The jury canceled the second heat of the four-man competition in Altenberg, Germany last week due to heavy snow with only four sleds remaining and Holcomb in the lead.  The U.S. team finished seventh as a result.


Eager to make a statement this weekend, Holcomb and Olsen combined forces to push a start time of 5.20 for a run of 52.37 seconds in the first heat, placing them in fifth.  The duo pushed a 5.16 for the fastest run of the second heat, 52.38, to slide the team onto the podium. 


“Justin stepped it up in the second heat,” said Holcomb.  “It was motivating and exciting, and this was a great way to come back from last week.”


Joining Holcomb in the top six was 2002 Olympic silver medalist Todd Hays.  Hays teamed with Alex Sprague for his best finish this season with a combined time of 1:45.09.


“I feel like I’m getting my rhythm back,” said Hays.  “It takes a little bit of time to get back into the mind frame of racing, and to get yourself motivated to put together two heats and be consistent.”


Hays retired after the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, but decided to return to competition to make another bid for Olympic gold.  The Texan has had to battle back from the bottom of the start list due to his two-year hiatus from the sport, and has flirted with the podium each week.


Hays and Sprague pushed start times of 5.22 and 5.18 for consistent runs of 52.54 and 52.55, respectively, to finish sixth. 


“I’ve gone through the growing pains now,” said Hays.  “We’re getting faster each week, and I think I’ll be in a decent place by the time we get to World Championships in Lake Placid.   I’m looking forward to the second half, and to getting back into the groove of racing again.”


Germany’s Thomas Florschütz and Marc Kühne claimed gold today with a two-run total of 1:44.62.  The duo pushed times of 5.11 and 5.14, and slid to the finish in 52.20 and 52.42 seconds.  Start specialists Beat Hefti and Thomas Lamparter from Switzerland slid a silver medal performance with a combined time of 1:44.70 (52.24, 52.46), just eight-hundredths of a second from the lead.  Hefti and Lamparter powered off the starting block with identical push times of 5.04 seconds in both heats.


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



1. Thomas Florschütz and Marc Kühne (GER) 1:44.62 (52.20, 52.42); 2.Beat Hefti and Thomas Lamparter (SUI) 1:44.70 (52.24, 52.46); 3. Steven Holcomb and Justin Olsen (USA) 1:44.75 (52.37, 52.38);…6. Todd Hays and Alex Sprague (USA) 1:45/09 952.54, 52.55);



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 http://bobsled.teamusa.org.