Cunningham top American in Winterberg's four-man bobsled World Cup
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Cunningham top American in Winterberg’s four-man bobsled World Cup, Holcomb crashes and finishes 20th
WINTERBERG, Germany (Jan. 4, 2014)- Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah), Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.), Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) and Chris Fogt (Alpine, Utah) fell victim to corner nine as they pushed their sled to its limit in Winterberg, Germany’s four-man bobsled World Cup race today. USA-1 was in silver medal position after the first heat and the crew was chasing gold in the final run when the sled flipped out of corner nine, which has tricked many pilots this week.
“Corner nine has always been an interesting corner because there’s not a lot of variance in finding the right line,” said Brian Shimer, U.S. bobsled head coach and Olympic medalist. “You have to be on the right line or you’ll go over, and finding that spot is tough when you’ve only had two training runs in four-man.”
Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.), Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas), Johnny Quinn (McKinney, Texas) and Dallas Robinson (Georgetown, Ky.) teamed together in the Century 21 sled, which is the original Night Train that was driven by Holcomb to Olympic victory in 2010, for 12th with a total time of 1:50.84. The crew posted impressive starts of 5.08 and 5.06 seconds for runs of 55.35 and 55.49 seconds, respectively, to lead the U.S. team.
USA-1 powered the Night Train2 to a blistering start time of 5.03 seconds, and Holcomb navigated the team to the finish in 54.98 seconds for second position. German Maximilian Arndt was 0.12 seconds ahead of the field on his home track, and Holcomb, who’s only won one Winterberg race in his career, knew he needed to push the limits if he wanted to catch Arndt.
The crew matched the first run start time of 5.03 in the final heat, and Holcomb had the sled chugging down the course with speeds that would keep the team in medal range. A slight mistake in corner nine was enough to flip the sled at the exit. The Night Train2 was back on its runners a few corners later, and the crew crossed the finish line with a total time of 1:52.32 for 20th.
“It’s all about character now,” Shimer said. “Life unfortunately gives you ups and downs, and the higher you go, the steeper you fall. We’ve all been through it, and we were prepared for the low. These guys are determined, probably the most motivated they’ve ever been, and whatever happens we keep looking ahead with the big picture in mind.”
Winterberg continues to be a puzzling track for Holcomb, who has a unique ability to drive by feel rather than sight due to a degenerative eye disease he suffered while learning the sport. While driving by feel is advantageous on high-pressure tracks like Whistler in Canada, low-pressure tracks like Winterberg force Holcomb to steer by sight.
Arndt and his crewmembers of Marki Huebenbecker, Alexander Roediger and Martin Putze were victorious with a combined time of 1:49.97. German teammates Francesco Friedrich, Jannis Baecker, Gregor Bermbach and Thorsten Margis claimed silver in 1:50.14. Alexander Zubkov from Russia led his team of Alexey Negodaylo, Dmitry Trunenkov and Aleksei Pushkarev to third with a two-run total of 1:50.17.
Cory Butner (Yucaipa, Calif.) teamed with Chuck Berkeley (Walnut Creek, Calif.), Adam Clark (Owenton, Ky.) and Chris Langton (Melrose, Mass.) for 25th place. Butner’s sled also rolled over out of corner nine in the first heat. The sled was upright a few corners later and crossed the finish line for a time of 57.65 seconds, but it wasn’t enough to qualify for the final heat. Butner and Berkeley were yesterday’s two-man bobsled bronze medalists, and Butner will be back in the hunt for medals tomorrow.
“I can’t think of a better story than coming back tomorrow and having all of our teams do well,” Shimer said. “Everyone has a hiccup in their season, and ours is coming now.”
The men’s bobsledders will be back in four-man sleds tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. following the women’s bobsled competition. Racing continues today with the women’s skeleton World Cup at 1:45 p.m. local time.
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1. Arndt, Huebenbecker, Roediger, and Putze (GER) 1:49.97 (54.86, 55.11); 2. Friedrich, Baecker, Bermbach, and Margis (GER) 1:50.14 (55.05, 55.09); 3. Zubkov, Negodaylo, Trunenkov, and Pushkarev (RUS) 1:50.17 (55.04, 55.13);…12. Cunningham, Olsen, Quinn and Robinson (USA) 1:50.84 (55.35, 55.49);…20. Holcomb, Tomasevicz, S. Langton and Fogt (USA) 1:52.32 (54.98, 57.34);…25. Butner, Berkeley, Clark and C. Langton (USA) (57.65, DNS):
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