CORTINA, Italy-Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) was one of the first sleds off the block in snowy conditions at the four-man bobsled World Cup competition in Cortina, Italy today. Holcomb and crew struggled with the elements in the first heat, but rebounded in the second run for an eighth place finish."There was a miscommunication at the start of the race today,"Holcomb said."We were told the race would begin at 9:15, so we were at the start line ready to go. We weren't informed there was a delay, so we were standing in the cold for a while before we were allowed to take our first run, and snow was accumulating in the track. We were basically a snowplow for everyone."2007 World Cup Champion Holcomb pushed with his USA I crew of Brock Kreitzburg (Akron, Ohio), Pavle Jovanovic (Tom's River, N.J.) and Steve Mesler (Calgary, Alberta) for the third fastest push of the first heat, a 4.92. Fighting snowy conditions, Holcomb finished the first heat in 14th position after a run of 54.56 seconds."We had a great push and a great run,"Holcomb said."We were just a snowplow for the rest of the field, which definitely is not fast."In the second heat, Holcomb was again off the block early in the field. Holcomb's push team, one of the fastest in the world, pushed the second fastest start time of 4.88. Taking advantage of the speed at the start, Holcomb drove his Bo-Dyn sled up six positions into eighth place overall."It's frustrating, because there's a lot riding on these races for us,"Holcomb said."I'm disappointed we didn't get a fair chance to compete today. But we can't dwell on it. Next week in Cesana [Italy] we'll prove that we can put today's result behind us and be back on the podium."Canadian Pierre Lueders, 2007 two-man World Cup Champion, claimed gold today with his team of Ken Kotyk, David Bissett and Justin Kripps. Team Canada was a powerful force on the track today, not only pushing the two fastest start times of the competition, a 4.86 and 4.87, but dominating the race with the two fastest runs of the day, 53.99 and 53.96, for a combined time of 1:47.95. Two-time World Cup Champion Alexander Zoubkov took silver with a total time of 1:48.17 (54.06, 54.11). The Russian had the third and second fastest start times of the day, a 4.92 and 4.88, respectively, with his crew of Philipp Egorov, Alexey Seliverstov and Evgeny Pechenkin. Claiming bronze was Switzerland's team piloted by Ivo Rueegg, after a two-run total time of 1:48.22. Michael Lukas, Roman Handschin and Cedric Grand pushed SUI I a 4.93 and 4.89 off the block, for finish times of 54.24 and 53.98, respectively. Mike Kohn (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) also struggled with the snowy conditions, driving a first run time of 54.52 seconds, 13th best of the heat. Despite improving in the second run with a time of 54.47, ninth best of the heat, Kohn finished 14th with a combined time of 1:48.99. Kohn's USA II team of Chris Fogt (Orem, Utah), TJ Burns (Blue Bell, Pa.) and Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) assisted with the seventh and eighth fastest pushes of the day, a 4.97 and 4.96, respectively. The teams will depart for the next World Cup event on the 2006 Olympic track in Cesana, Italy from January 18-19. For complete results of today's race, please visit www.bobsleigh.com, the Web site of the Federation International de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganning (FIBT). Results: 1. Lueders, Kotyk, Bissett and Kripps (CAN I) 1:47.95 (53.99, 53.96); 2. Zubkov, Egorov, Seliverstov and Pechenkin (RUS I) 1:48.17 (54.06, 54.11); 3. Rueegg, Lukas, Handschin and Grand (WUI I) 1:48.22 (54.24, 53.98);_8. Holcomb, Jovanovic, Mesler and Kreitzburg (USA I) 1:48.72 (54.56, 54.16);_14. Kohn, Burns, Fogt and Langton (USA II) 1:48.99 (54.52, 54.47); 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, CW-X, KBC Helmets, ULU Boots, Racing Electronics, Schenker Logistics, Speedo and Whelen Engineering. For more information, please visit the USBSF Web site at www.usbsf.com.