BOBSLED: Holcomb Closes Season Third in Combined Bobsled World Cup Points
WINTERBERG, Germany-Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) finished fourth in the four-man bobsled World Cup finale in Winterberg, Germany today. Holcomb closed the 2007-2008 season ranked fourth in four-man World Cup standings with 1534 points, missing the top three by only four points, and third in combined standings with 2921 points. Holcomb's push team of Pavle Jovanovic (Tom's River, N.J.), Steve Mesler (Calgary, Alberta) and Brock Kreitzburg (Akron, Ohio) again proved to be one of the top teams at the start, tying two teams for the third best start of the first heat of 5.11 seconds. Holcomb piloted his Bo-Dyn sled to the finish in 55.40 seconds, entering the second heat in sixth position. Holcomb and crew powered off the block with the second fastest start time of the second heat of 5.10 seconds, propelling team USA I down the course to the fourth best time of the heat, 55.41 seconds, for a combined time of 1:50.81. The team finished just 0.22 seconds from the podium in the final World Cup race."Now that Holcomb has recovered from his injury and is close to 100% we can keep our momentum moving towards Altenberg,"said Mesler, one of Holcomb's top push athletes."It's a little disappointing to finish fourth overall. To come back with a silver medal last week and fourth today after the tough few weeks we've had, we're heading in the right direction."The four-man bobsled overall World Cup title would be decided today between reigning Olympic Champion Andre Lange from Germany and Russia's Alexander Zoubkov. Lange claimed the two-man World Cup title yesterday, but Zoubkov proved to be a stiff competitor for the crown. Lange began to etch his name into the trophy after tying the start record in the first heat with his crew of Rene Hoeppe, Marc Kuehne and Martin Putze with a start time of 5.06 seconds. The two-man Champion drove with precision, smashing the previous track record with a run of 55.86 seconds, putting himself 0.39 seconds ahead of the field leading into the second heat. Again tying the start record, Lange glided down the track, finishing with a combined time of 1:49.96 after a second run of 55.10 to claim not only the World Cup finale victory, but also the four-man bobsled and overall combined World Cup titles. Taking silver was Zoubkov with Alexey Andrynin, Alexander Ushakov and Dmitry Stepushkin with a total time of 1:50.41 after runs of 55.25 and 55.16. In third was team Latvia piloted by Janis Minins and pushed by Daumants Dreiskens, Oskars Melbardis and Intars Dambi after runs of 55.31 and 55.28 for a two-run total of 1:50.59. Lange cinched the four-man title with 1606 points, with Zoubkov closely behind in second with 1593 points. Minins finished the season only four points ahead of Holcomb to claim third with 1538 points. The combined World Cup title is given to the pilot with the most amount of two and four-man points added together. Lange captured the overall title with 3240 points, followed by Zoubkov with 3019, with Holcomb in third with 2921 points. Mike Kohn (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) finished the 2007-2008 World Cup season with a top ten result today. Teamed with Jamie Moriarty (Winnetka, Ill.), TJ Burns (Blue Bell, Pa.) and Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.), USA II pushed the eighth best push times of the competition, a 5.18 and 5.19. Kohn drove his sled into tenth place with a combined time of 1:51.38 after sliding runs of 55.78 and 55.60. Kohn closed the season ranked 17th in four-man bobsled World Cup standings with 650 points. The World Cup finale proved to be dramatic, as three sleds crashed on the course. All sleds crossed the finish line without serious injury to the athletes. Germany's Matthias Hoepfner was in the hunt for the medals leading into the final heat before Alex Mann slipped at the start, loading the sled upside down. Holcomb and crew stood in the leader's box anxiously watching. Hoepfner and team crossed the finish line safely, but dropped 11 positions to finish 15th. With the conclusion of the World Cup season, the teams will move on to World Championships in Altenberg, Germany. The race for the crown will begin on Friday, Feb. 15th with women's bobsled, and will wrap-up on Sunday, Feb. 24. Check out 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. Lange, Hoppe, Kuene and Putze (GER I) 1:49.96 (54.86, 55.10); 2. Zoubkov, Andrynin, Ushakov and Stepuskin (RUS I) 1:50.41 (55.25, 55.16); 3. Minins, Dreiskens, Melbardis and Dambi (LAT I) 1:50.59 (55.31, 55,28); 4. Holcomb, Jovanovic, Mesler and Kreitzburg (USA I) 1:50.81 (55.40, 55.41);_10. Kohn, Moriarty, Burns and Langton (USA II) 1:51.38 (55.78, 55.60); 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.