Holcomb Claims Bronze in Four-man Bobsled Season Opener

Nov. 30, 2008, 8:38 a.m. (ET)

Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager

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


For Immediate Release

November 30, 2008


Holcomb Claims Bronze in Four-man Bobsled Season Opener


WINTERBERG, Germany–Men’s four-man bobsled competition capped off the first weekend of the 2008-09 World Cup season in Winterberg, Germany today.  Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) rebounded from his two-man performance yesterday by winning bronze in today’s four-man competition.


“Our team is starting to find a rhythm, and I think today was a great result,” said Brian Shimer, men’s bobsled head coach and 2002 Olympic bronze medalist.  “Being on the podium is always good, but Holcomb’s team isn’t content with bronze, because they want to win every competition they enter.”


Holcomb and his team of Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas), Steve Mesler (Calgary, Alberta) and Curt Tomasevicz(Shelby, Neb.) pushed a start time of 5.11 for a run of 54.99 seconds, putting them in fifth position going into the second heat.


Determined to break into the top three, Holcomb’s team burst off the starting block with a push time of 5.07 seconds in the second heat.  Holcomb drove his BoDyn sled to the finish in 54.83 seconds for a two-run total of 1:54.83 to claim bronze. 


“Holcomb’s team really stepped it up and put him on the podium today,” said Shimer.  “Holcomb struggled a bit with his driving, but he had a big enough lead from the start to move up and claim the bronze medal.”


Reigning Olympic and World Cup champion Andre Lange claimed gold with a total time of 1:49.30 on his home track with his team of Alexander Roediger, Kevin Kuske and Martin Putze.  The German squad powered off the starting block in the first heat with a time of 5.06 seconds, and slid to the finish in 54.76.  Eager to claim gold with dominance, Lange and crew smashed the start record in the second heat with a 5.01 push time, and continued to gain speed for a track record at the finish with a run of 54.54 seconds.


“Andre coming up with a new start and track record shows that we still have some work to do,” said Shimer.  “I think we’re getting there, and I know our team is hungry to compete again next week.”


The Russian team comprised of Alexsandr Zubkov, Roman Oreshnikov, Dmitry Trunenkov and Dmitry Stepushkin slid to the finish with a combined time of 1:49.63 for the silver medal after sliding runs of 54.85 and 54.78.  The squad pushed start times of 5.09 and 5.05. 


The second U.S. sled driven by Todd Hays (Del Rio, Texas) finished in 13th place with a total time of 1:50.37 after sliding runs of 55.18 and 55.19. 


“The competition was so tight, there were only two-tenths of a second separating ten sleds,” said Shimer.  “Todd was unfortunate to draw 26 out of 26 sleds again today, but just like in the two-man, he has to battle back to get into the top seed for the draw.  He’s still trying to find his groove after some time away from the sport, and I expect good things from Todd throughout the season.”


Hays teamed with a crew of veterans and newcomers today, including Bill Schuffenhauer (Ogden, Utah), who helped push him to an Olympic silver medal in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games that ended a U.S. bobsled 46-year medal drought.  Schuffenhauer also took time off from the sport, returning this year on his quest for Olympic gold.  Hays and his four-man team of Schuffenhauer, TJ Burns (Blue Bell, Pa.), and Jacob Miller (Waterford, Va.) collaborated for push times today of 5.16 and 5.21 seconds.


“We’re still trying to build a team for Todd,” said Shimer.  “This is the first time this crew has pushed together in a competition, and they’ve only had four runs to practice this week.”


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 4th 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. Lange, Roediger, Kuske and Putze (GER) 1:49.30 (54.76, 54.54); 2. Zubkov, Oreshnikov, Trunenkov and Stepushkin (RUS) 1:49.63 (54.85, 54.78); 3. Holcomb, Olsen, Mesler, Tomasevicz (USA) 1:49.82 (54.99, 54.83);…13. Hays, Burns, Schuffenhauer and Miller (USA) 1:50.37 (55.18, 55.19);


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.