Holcomb Continues U.S. Medal Streak, Claims World Championship Bronze

Feb. 22, 2009, 12:42 p.m. (ET)

Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager 
(518) 523-1842, ext 106, abird@usbsf.com 

For Immediate Release 
February 22, 2009 

Holcomb Continues U.S. Medal Streak, Claims World Championship Bronze 

Lake Placid, N.Y.- Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) teamed with Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.) to claim bronze in the two-man bobsled World Championships today at the Olympic Sports Complex in Lake Placid, N.Y. 

"I just won my first World Championship medal," said Holcomb. "I'm really excited, but of course I wish it was gold." 

Holcomb entered today's final two heats in fourth position, but immediately moved into medal position in his first heat with a run of 55.41 seconds. Holcomb and Tomasevicz dug their sled out of the start with a push time of 5.16 seconds in the final heat, and Holcomb kept the cr owd on edge as his splits fell behind the previous sled. 

"The top was exactly the same in all four heats, and exactly wrong," said Holcomb. "I guess it was good that I was consistent, but it'd be better to be consistent right than consistent wrong."

Holcomb was four-hundredths of a second out of the medals exiting corner 14, but made up a tenth of a second before crossing the finish line in 55.79 seconds for his first ever World Championship medal. 

"This was huge for us, and I'm really happy," said Holcomb. "I knew I needed to come out and give it my all to stay in the mix. I made mistakes. It happens." 

It's been 12 years since the U.S. last won a World Championship medal in the two-man bobsled event. Brian Shimer, now the head coach for the men's bobsled program, won bronze in 1997 in St. Moritz, Switzerland. 

"Shimer won a medal in 1903 I think," said Holcomb jokingly. "I wish I'd won gold or silver, because then I could have gotten him." 

Ivo Rueegg and Cedric Grand from Switzerland were named World Champions after sliding a total time of 3:42.20. The Swiss duo pushed times of 5.15 and 5.14, and crossed the finish line with the fastest runs of the day, 55.40 and 55.68 seconds. 

Germans Thomas Florshutz and Marc Kuehne maintained their position to claim silver with a four-run total of 3:42.42, missing the title by 0.22 seconds after sliding runs 55.45 and 55.79 seconds. Florschutz and Kuehne matched the Swiss team's start times today, pushing 5.15 and 5.14. 

Todd Hays (Del Rio, Texas) and Alex Sprague (Indianapolis, Ind.) moved up from yesterday to finish 11th with a four-run total of 3:44.42. Hays and Sprague pushed times of 5.27 and 5.22 for runs of 56.01 and 56.02, respectively. 

"I don't think this old man is helping out Alex Sprague too much, so I need to get into the weight room and get myself into shape," said 40-year-old Hays with a laugh. "I felt good about the runs. I watched video last night and found out what I did wrong, and felt good about what I was able to do today. I got too far behind yesterday to make it up, but I had a good day and I'm looking forward to the four-man race."

John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.) teamed with T.J. Burns (Blue Bell, Pa.) to finish 17th with a combined time of 3:45.17 after sliding runs of 56.25 and 56.37 seconds. Napier has been battling the flu throughout the week, but managed to muster push times of 5.37 and 5.33 with Burns. 

"My legs aren't under me yet," said Napier. "T.J. did as much as he could to help me, but I had nothing left. I'm hopeful for next week, and I think four-man will go well. I'm starting to feel better, so my first goal is to get healthy."

For photos of the U.S. men in action, visit the web site of photographer Todd Bissonette at www.usabobsledphotos.com. ;

Complete results can be found by visiting the web site for the Federation Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing at www.fibt.com. For additional information, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at (518) 523-1842, ext. 106, or abird@usbsf.com

1. Ivo Rueegg and Cedric Grand (SUI) 3:42.20 (55.56, 55.56, 55.40, 55.68); 2. Thomas Florschutz and Marc Kuehne (GER) 3:42.42 (55.50, 55.68, 55.45, 55.79)); 3. Steven Holcomb and Curt Tomasevicz (USA) 3:42.60 (55.64, 55.76, 55.41, 55.79);...11. Todd Hays and Alex Sprague (USA) 3:44.42 (56.13, 56.26, 56.01, 56.02);...17. John Napier and T.J. Burns (USA) 3:45.17 (56.28, 56.27, 56.25, 56.37); 

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, ULU Boots and Ferris Mfg. Corp. 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, EXA, Lumber Liquidators, Lincoln Electronics and Racing Electronics. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org