KOENIGSSEE, Germany-The men's two-man bobsled World Cup was again shrouded in a cloud as competitors battled wintry conditions at the top of the track in Koenigssee, Germany, and slid into a rainy mix at the finish. Mike Kohn (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) was the top U.S. finisher, placing tenth, with defending World Cup Champion Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) closely behind in 11th."Athletes are constantly going through peaks and valleys,"Holcomb said."There are always setback. The best athletes are the few that can learn and build from them."Kohn teamed with the powerful rookie Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) as USA II for his second top-ten result this season. The duo pushed a 5.03 and 5.02 for finish times of 50.43 and 49.96, respectively. Sliding a total time of 1:40.39, team USA II finished tenth. Kohn skipped two World Cup competitions early this season in order to rehab a strained hamstring, and has returned to the second half of the season in top form. Holcomb and Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.) finished just 0.01 seconds from their teammates for an 11th place finish with a combined time of 1:40.40. Struggling in the first heat, Holcomb slid into 18th place after pushing a 5.09 for a down time of 50.62 seconds."I honestly thought to myself, 'Where's my time' Whose time is that' There's no way that is mine,'"Holcomb said. Undeterred, the defending World Cup Champion pushed a 5.02 start time with Tomasevicz, sliding a second run time of 49.78 seconds, third fastest of the heat, moving the team up six positions into 11th."It's kind of a relief that the season is almost over,"Holcomb said."The past few weeks have been really tough on all of us. My injury really hurt our momentum. I'm healthy now, but it's hard to get the momentum back up with only three weeks left."Mathias Hoepfner was the upset winner in today's competition with brakeman Alex Mann. The German squad started late in the competition, and took advantage of the lighter snowfall to slide the fastest time of the first heat of 50.06 seconds. Only 0.08 seconds behind was reigning Olympic Champion Andre Lange, who was teamed with one of Germany's strongest brakeman, Kevin Kuske. The duo pushed a start time of 4.91 seconds, well ahead of the field, for a finish time of 50.14. The German teams battled for the gold on their home track in the second heat. Lange was the first of the two to descend the difficult track, pushing the fastest start time of the competition, a 4.87, for a finish time of 49.78 seconds. Sliding a two-run total of 1:39.92, the multi World Cup medalist could only wait as GER II took their final run. Hoepfner responded with a second run time of 49.79 seconds for a total time of 1:39.85 to claim the gold by 0.07 seconds. Canada's Pierre Lueders and Lascelles Brown took bronze with a total time of 1:40.05 after runs of 50.34 and 49.71. Junior athlete John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.) teamed with Chuck Berkeley (Clayton, Calif.) for a combined time of 1:41.23, placing them 20th. The team pushed competitive start times of 5.04 and 5.08 for finish times of 50.66 and 50.57, respectively. Four-man bobsled competition will take place tomorrow, Sunday, Feb. 3 at 4 am EST. Immediately following at 8:30 am EST will be the team event. Don't miss the action LIVE and On-Demand on NBCOlympics.com. For complete results of today's race, visit www.bobsleigh.com, the Web site of the Federation International de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganning (FIBT). Results: 1. Mathias Hoepfner and Alex Mann (GERII) 1:39.85 (50.06, 49.79); 2. Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske (GER I) 1:39.92 (50.14, 49.78); 3. Pierre Lueders and Lascelles Brown (CAN I) 1:40.05 (50.34, 49.71);_10. Mike Kohn and Steve Langton (USA II) 1:40.39 (50.43, 49.96); 11. Steven Holcomb and Curt Tomasivicz (USA I) 1:40.40 (50.62, 49.78);_20. John Napier and Chuck Berkeley (USA III) 1:41.23 (50.66, 50.57); 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, Columbia Sportswear Company, Speedo, CW-X, KBC Helmets, ULU Boots, Racing Electronics, Schenker Logistics, Lumber Liquidators and Whelen Engineering. For more information, please visit the USBSF Web site at www.usbsf.com.