ALTENBERG, Germany-The two-man bobsled season concluded at the World Championships in Altenberg, Germany today, where Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) and Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.) finished tenth. The 17-corner track was lined with bobsled fans decorated with flags from all nations that cheered as each sled navigated the tricky course. Holcomb and Tomasevicz entered the final heats in 13th. Frustrated and bewildered with yesterday's result, Holcomb returned to the track today with a renewed focus."I was able to watch a DVD of my first heats last night and analyze my runs, so we had some new ideas coming into today,"Holcomb said."We entered this competition with only a few days of training because we weren't given the opportunity to slide here over the last few years. There's still a lot to learn."Holcomb and Tomassevicz pushed identical start times of 5.44 in the final two heats for runs of 55.66 and 55.70. Team USA I slid a four-run combined time of 3:44.17, and stood at the finish as their time bettered three sleds."I think we found some additional speed today,"Holcomb said."I feel like I'm beginning to understand the track better, and I'm looking forward to the four-man race next weekend."Andre Lange defined himself as a champion today: two-man, four-man, overall World Cup Champion, and now World Champion. The reigning Olympic Champion teamed with brakeman Kevin Kuske to dominate the competition with the four fastest heats of the competition, claiming the trophy with a total time of 3:40.58. Pushing times of 5.19 and 5.22, team GER I cruised to the finish on their home track with runs of 54.79 and 54.21. Thomas Florschuetz and Mirko Paetzold finished second today, winning the fifth medal for Germany out of six awarded this weekend. Pushing start times of 5.35 and 5.34 for runs of 55.07 and 55.27, respectively, team GER II slid to a silver medal performance with a four-run total of 3:41.64. Denying the Germans a sweep of the podium was Alexander Zoubkov and Alexey Voevoda from Russia. Entering the final heat just 0.05 seconds from the Germans, Zoubkov knew he was within reach of the podium. RUS I exploded off the block with the fastest start time of the day, 5.21, sliding to the finish in 55.29 seconds. The team waited in the leader's box as Matthias Hoepfner descended the course. Zoubkov let out a cheer as their combined time of 3:41.97 was 0.08 seconds fast enough to take the bronze. Junior athlete John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.) and first-year brakeman Chuck Berkeley (Clayton, Calif.) moved up three positions to finish 16th today with a combined time of 3:45.96. Napier and Berkeley were the fastest U.S. sled at the start, pushing times of 5.40 and 5.43, for finish times of 56.20 and 56.00, respectively. Team USA III waved to the cameras as they stood in the leader's box, looking slightly awed with the experience and excited to make their World Championship debut."I'm really happy,"Napier said with a wide grin."I'm just really excited. I wish I could have had a better first heat yesterday. It set me back too far, and I think I could have moved into the top 15, maybe top 10, if I'd made fewer mistakes yesterday. But I'm happy to have finished my first World Championships, and I'm just really excited to be here."2002 Olympic bronze medalist Mike Kohn (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) and rookie push athlete Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) moved up two positions today, finishing in 18th with a four-run total of 3:46.54. Kohn and Langton pushed times of 5.41 and 5.47 for runs of 56.42 and 56.35, respectively."This is a tough track and I wish we could get on it more often,"Kohn said."It's a little frustrating to not have much opportunity to train here, but I don't have any excuses, because I didn't drive well. The positive thing is that our new guys are getting experience. We have a really talented and great group of new push athletes, and getting them experience in this type of competition is great."World Championships in Altenberg will continue tomorrow, Monday, Feb. 18 with a team competition. Each nation will choose an athlete to slide one run in women's skeleton, men's skeleton, women's bobsled and two-man bobsled. The nation with the lowest combined time over the four heats will win the team title. 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. Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske (GER I) 3:40.58 (55.17, 55.41, 54.79, 55.21); 2. Thomas Florschuetz and Mirko Paetzold (GER II) 3:41.64 (55.63, 55.67, 55.07, 55.27); 3. Alexander Zoubkov and Alexey Voedoda (RUS I) 3:41.97 (55.65, 55.85, 55.18, 55.29);_10. Steven Holcomb and Curt Tomasevicz (USA I) 3:44.17 (56.27, 56.54, 55.66, 55.70);_16. John Napier and Chuck Berkeley (USA III) 3:45.96 (57.17, 56.59, 56.20, 56.00);_18. Mike Kohn and Steve Langton (USA II) 3:46.54 (56.74, 57.03, 56.42, 56.35); 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.