Hays Makes Comeback in Two-Man Bobsled World Cup Opener

Nov. 29, 2008, 9:47 a.m. (ET)

Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager

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

For Immediate Release

November 29, 2008

Hays Makes Comeback in Two-Man Bobsled World Cup Opener 

WINTERBERG, Germany–Two-man bobsled World Cup competition for the 2008-09 season commenced today in Winterberg, Germany with a field of 28 sleds. Todd Hays (Del Rio, Texas) came out of retirement on a quest for Olympic gold, returning to World Cup action today.  Hays teamed with Alex Sprague (Indianapolis, Ind.) to tie for eighth, while teammates Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) and Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.) slid to a 12th place result.

“It was the first race of the season, and everyone was feeling a little nervous,” said Brian Shimer, men’s bobsled head coach and 2002 Olympic bronze medalist.  “I’ve been there before, and I know how the nerves feel for that first race.  Now the first one is out of the way, and I think the team is ready for four-man competition tomorrow.”

A two-year hiatus from the sport left Hays without World Cup points going into the race draw for the competition.  As a result, Hays and push athlete Sprague drew number 28 out of 28 sleds.

“Todd was the last sled off the start today which is a disadvantage,” said Shimer.  “He’s coming out of retirement, so he doesn’t have any World Cup points from last season, which put him at the end of the draw.”

The U.S. duo pushed times of 5.23 and 5.27 for runs of 56.41 and 56.09, respectively.  Team Hays slid to the finish with a combined time of 1:52.50 for an eighth place finish, tied with Italians Simone Bertazzo and Samuele Romanini.

“Todd had to battle back, and now he’s back in the top ten for the draw next week,” said Shimer.  “This was a great result for Todd’s comeback, and an indication of good things to come.”

Holcomb and Tomasevicz, the 2007 World Cup champions, slid to a 12th place finish today with a combined time of 1:52.67.  The team pushed start times of 5.20 and 5.21 for runs of 56.45 and 56.22, recpectively.

“Steve had some of the fastest times this week in training,” said Shimer.  “He started to over-think the track the final day of training and made a few mistakes, and he wasn’t able to put it together today.”

Beat Hefti and Thomas Lamparter from Switzerland surprised the field by claiming gold with a combined time of 1:51.79 after sliding runs of 55.86 and 55.93.  Hefti and Lamparter were both push athletes on Ivo Rueegg’s four-man team when he was crowned 2007 World Champion in St. Moritz. 

Hefti switched to the driver’s seat and became a threat on the Europa Cup circuit last season with Lamparter.  The duo smashed the previous start record set by Americans Steve Mesler and Tomasevicz,, pushing a start time of 5.07 in both heats.

“Everyone knew Beat had a big start,” said Shimer.  “We were amazed though when he obliterated the track record today.” 

Reigning Olympic and World Cup champion Andre Lange teamed Kevin Kuske for the silver medal today.  The German team slid runs of 55.98 and 55.98 for a two-run total of 1:51.96, just 0.17 seconds behind the Swiss.

Germans Thomas Forschütz, and Marc Kühne , who finished on the heels of Lange in two-man World Championships last season, finished third today on their home track.  The team finished with a total time of 1:52.09 with runs of 56.08 and 56.01.

World Cup coverage from Winterberg will be offered as same-day video on- demand on UniversalSports.com.  Universal Sports TV will offer a one-hour broadcast of the event on December 3rd from 6-7 pm EST.   Visit UniversalSports.com for up-to-date TV and online schedules and availability of the Universal Sports 24-hour TV network.

For additional information, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at (518) 523-1842, ext. 106, or abird@usbsf.com


1. Beat Hefti and Thomas Lamparter (SUI) 1:51.79 (55.86, 55.93); 2. Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske (GER) 1:51.96 (55.98, 55.98); Thomas Florchutz and Marc Kuhne (GER) 1:52.09 (56.08, 56.01);...8. Todd Hays and Alex Sprague (USA) 1:52.50 (56.41, 56.09);...12. Steven Holcomb and Curt Tomasevicz (USA) 1:52.67 (56.45, 56.22)

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.