USA-1 claims four-man bobsled Olympic bronze medal

Feb. 23, 2014, 8:51 a.m. (ET)

Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director
(518) 354-2250, abird@usbsf.com

USA-1 claims four-man bobsled Olympic bronze medal


KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (Feb. 23, 2014)- Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah), Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.), Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) and Chris Fogt (Alpine, Utah) moved up a spot from last night to claim bronze in today’s four-man bobsled Olympic finale at the Sanki Sliding Center.

“I’m very happy,” Holcomb said. “We came here to win a medal.  It was a tough race, and it wasn’t easy. Coming away with a bronze medal, we’re pretty satisfied.”

The last time the U.S. won medals in both the two-man and four-man events was when Stanley Benham claimed double silver medals at the 1952 Oslo Games, making it yet another 62-year record for Holcomb. Holcomb broke a 62-year gold medal drought for the U.S. by winning the four-man race in the 2010 Vancouver Games, and claimed the first two-man medal for the program in 62-years when he finished third at the Sanki Sliding Center on Monday.  He is the first American bobsled pilot to ever win three Olympic medals.

When asked if he knew how many years it had been since an American won a medal in both the two-man and four-man, Holcomb said, “Please say 62.”

“It’s mind blowing,” Holcomb said.  “It’s meant to be I guess.”

USA-1 was fourth at the midway point, just 0.01 seconds from bronze medal position. The team caught Germans Maximilian Arndt, Marko Huebenbecker, Alexander Roediger and Martin Putze in the third heat to regain medal position after posting the fastest push time of the run, 4.78 seconds, and a finish time of 55.30.  The Germans dropped back a few positions, but Russia’s second sled of Alexander Kasjanov, Ilvir Huzin, Maxim Belugin and Aleksei Pushkarev threw down a speedy third run that moved them into contention just behind USA-1.

The medals were decided in a nail-biting fourth and final heat. Kasjanov posted the fastest time of the fourth heat to threaten the top three sleds for a podium position.  USA-1 again posted the fastest start time, 4.78 seconds, but Holcomb struggled with corner five. Their advantage over RUS-2 began to shrink, and it came to 0.03 seconds between fourth place and a medal, the same gap that secured him a bronze in the two-man race.

“Three and 62, I think I need to play those numbers in Vegas,” Holcomb joked.

Holcomb piloted his Bodyn Night Train 2 sled to the finish in 55.33 seconds for a total time of 3:40.99.  Tomasevicz, Langton and Fogt threw their arms up in celebration, but it took Holcomb a moment to realize he had secured at least a bronze medal.

“When we came out of corner 15 I could see the board and saw green, so I knew we were ahead,” Holcomb said. “I thought, ‘don’t mess up, don’t mess up.’ But I didn’t see the clock when we crossed the finish line, so it wasn’t until we were at the finish dock that I knew we had it.”

Latvians Oskars Melbardis, Daumants Dreiskens, Arvis Vilkaste and Janis Strenga maintained their position to secure silver with a total of 3:40.69. Alexander Zubkov and his crew of Alexey Negodaylo, Dmitry Trunenkov and Alexey Voevoda were victorious by a mere 0.09 seconds with a four-run combined time of 3:40.60. Zubkov is only the sixth person to win two-man and four-man gold medals in the same Olympics, and just the second non-German to accomplish the feat.

“These guys made it a really competitive race,” Holcomb said. “We felt a lot of pressure to perform here since we were the reigning champions. Everyone expected us to win, and it’s not easy. These guys are tough. People were almost counting our medal, saying, ‘well, Holcomb is coming up so we have a medal there,’ and I was like, ‘whoa, let me get through training first.’ We fought until the very end and I feel great leaving Sochi with two medals.

All but one USA-1 team member had an Olympic medal coming into today’s race. Holcomb was already a two-time medalist, Tomasevicz was part of the 2010 Olympic gold medal team, and Langton claimed bronze on Monday. Fogt, an Army war veteran, was choked up, talking about his journey to this point, including his crash in the 2010 Vancouver Games four-man race as a push athlete in John Napier’s sled. After speaking with media, Langton called Fogt’s wife, who is due with their first child in a few months, and handed the phone to Fogt.

“I can't be happier, to tell you the truth,” Fogt said. “It's my first one. It was big for me. Watching Langton win last week, my teammate in 2010, my training partner, my roommate on tour every single week this year, to watch him win I was obviously very excited for him. And at the same time I was kind of envious, praying to the good Lord that I would get my chance. I'm just very elated to be here.”

Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) and his push crew of Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas), Johnny Quinn (McKinney, Texas) and Dallas Robinson (Georgetown, Ky.) finished 12th with a combined time of 3:42.70 after posting third and fourth run times of 55.97 and 55.64 seconds today.

“We knew coming in with our draw that we were going to be behind the eight ball, but that’s racing,” Cunningham said. “There’s nothing left in the tank, you can tell we’re pretty exhausted. I did the best I could, but it just didn’t work out for us.”

The USA Bobsled & Skeleton team claimed six medals at the 2014 Sochi Games. Noelle Pikus-Pace claimed silver in women’s skeleton, and Matt Antoine was third in men’s skeleton. Holcomb and Langton claimed two-man bobsled bronze, and then added another bronze today with Tomasevicz and Fogt in four-man.  Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams earned the women’s bobsled silver medal, followed by Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans in third. This is the most successful Olympics that the U.S. sliding team has had on foreign soil, tying only the six medal performances in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.

“Between the support of BMW and the Bodyn Project with the news sleds, this is huge,” Holcomb said. “We can train as much as we want, but if we didn’t have the equipment to get into, it wouldn’t matter. It shows a lot, and I think it’s going to build a lot of motivation and momentum heading into the next four years.”

Please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director, at abird@usbsf.com or 719-207-5040 with media inquiries.

Results:

1. Zubkov, Negodaylo, Trunenkov and Voevoda (RUS) 3:40.60 (54.82, 55.37, 55.02, 55.39); 2. Melbardis, Dreiskens, Vilkaste and Strenga (LAT) 3:40.69 (55.10, 55.13, 55.15, 55.31); 3. Holcomb, Tomasevicz, Langton and Fogt (USA) 3:40.99 (54.89, 55.47, 55.30, 55.33);…12. Cunningham, Olsen, Quinn and Robinson (USA) 3:42.70 (55.61, 55.48, 55.97, 55.64);

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: BMW of North America, Century 21 Real Estate, CEVA Logistics, Under Armour, Kampgrounds of America, Boomerang Carnets, 24 Hour Fitness, KBC Helmets, Eastern European Distribution Company, Azad Watches, Latta USA, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Autism Speaks, Park City Lodging, Inc., EDAS/Ripxx, UberSense, Tesa Tape and Ferris Mfg. Corp. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org.

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