Butner and Berkeley kick start second half with a bronze medal in two-man bobsled World Cup

Jan. 03, 2014, 12:13 p.m. (ET)

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

Butner and Berkeley kick start second half with a bronze medal in two-man bobsled World Cup


WINTERBERG, Germany (Jan. 3, 2014)- Cory Butner (Yucaipa, Calif.) and Chuck Berkeley (Walnut Creek, Calif.) picked up where they left off with a bronze medal performance in Winterberg’s two-man bobsled World Cup race.  The duo capped the first half of the season with a third place finish in Lake Placid, N.Y. that completed a historic U.S. sweep of the podium, and kick started second half with another bronze medal finish today.

While Butner and Berkeley were happy to medal, finishing just 0.01 seconds from second was difficult for Butner to accept.

“Just one-hundredth of a second from silver, that’s all it was,” Butner said. “It’s hard not to wonder where you lost that and how you could have made up some time.”

The Americans powered the KOA branded BMW manufactured sled off the start block in 5.24 seconds for a first run time of 56.49 seconds, which seated them in second place. Eager to add another medal to their collection, Butner and Berkeley bettered their push by 0.05 seconds in the final heat and slid across the finish line in 56.66 seconds. Their combined time of 1:53.15 was just shy of maintaining silver medal position, but they were guaranteed bronze.

“I’ve started to expect to be in the top five every weekend,” Butner said. “Our sled technicians- Richard Laubenstein, Cheech Garde and David Cripps- have been working around the clock to get these sleds ready for race day. We have the best equipment, best coaches and techs, and everything is coming together just like it’s supposed to.”

The Swiss team of Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann posted blistering push times of 5.09 and 5.11 seconds to give their sled a head start down the track. Hefti maintained that momentum to give the crew a lead of 0.46 seconds with a combined time of 1:52.68 to secure gold.

Alexander Zubkov and Alexey Voevoda moved up from sixth to second in the final run. The Russian pair clocked a two-run total of 1:53.14 to nab silver from the U.S. team of Butner and Berkeley.

Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) and Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) finished seventh with a combined time of 1:53.45. Holcomb was 7-for-7 in the first half of the season, and looked visibly disappointed with his performance as he climbed out of the sled following his runs today.  The Olympic and world champion learned how to drive by feel while suffering from a degenerative eye disease that diminished his vision to 20-500, making mild and low pressure tracks like Winterberg challenging for him to drive. His best two-man finish to-date on the German course is fifth, which he accomplished in 2008 and 2012.

“I knew coming into this race that it was going to be a challenge,” Holcomb said. “I drive by feel, not by visual cues. I’ve always struggled here, but understanding that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. Knowing that it’s going to be difficult adds pressure, especially since I’ve been undefeated this season. We’re still going to come out of the blocks at full speed in four-man, so hopefully we’re talking about medals tomorrow.”

Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) and Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas) clocked a first run of 56.60 seconds to tie for fourth.  The crew was within striking distance of the medals, but a few errors in the second heat were too costly against a competitive field of experienced pilots. The crew fell back eight positions into 12th with a total time of 1:53.72.

Racing continues tomorrow with the first of two Winterberg four-man bobsled races at 10 a.m. local time, followed by the women’s skeleton competition at 1:45 p.m. The Winterberg event is broadcast on TV by Universal Sports, and is streamed live on the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation’s website.

Please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director, at abird@usbsf.com or 518-354-2250 with media inquiries.

Results:

1. Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann (SUI) 1:52.68 (56.16, 56.52); 2. Alexander Zubkov and Alexey Voevoda (RUS) 1:53.14 (56.63, 56.51); 3. Cory Butner and Chuck Berkeley (USA) 1:53.15 (56.49, 56.66);…7. Steven Holcomb and Steve Langton (USA) 1:53.45 (56.75, 56.70);…12. Nick Cunningham and Justin Olsen (USA) 1:53.72 (56.60, 57.12);

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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