Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager

(518) 354-2250, abird@usbsf.com

USA-1 wraps up first half in fourth

WINTERBERG, Germany (Dec. 18, 2011)-The USA-1 four-man bobsled team of Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah), Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas), Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) and Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.) wrapped up the first half of the season in fourth place.  The crew finished just 0.04 seconds from the medals in the final Winterberg World Cup event to maintain their third overall four-man bobsled ranking.

"We were fast all week in training and we expected to do better," Holcomb said.  "It’s difficult to put your heart and soul into something and not have the result you hoped for, and missing the medals by such a small margin is tough.  We just need to move on and prove that we’re still the best team on the hill in the second half."

Holcomb posed a challenge on Facebook last week after finishing 0.06 seconds from the medals in La Plagne, France. He asked fans to press start and stop on a stopwatch as fast as possible to see how close they could get to 0.06 seconds, which he said is "roughly one-sixth of a blink of an eye."

"It’s nearly impossible to do on a stopwatch," Holcomb said.  "I was trying to do it, and it makes you realize just how unbelievably short amount of time it is after two miles of racing."

Olsen, Langton and Tomasevicz didn’t show any signs of slowing down leading into the holiday break.  The USA-1 crew powered the sled off the block in 5.15 and 5.10 seconds to give Holcomb momentum going into corner one.

"These guys are by far the best push crew in the world," Holcomb said.  "We had a five minute hold before the second run because the sled before us crashed, but these guys stayed amped up and did their job."

The BMW Night Train crew was in sixth position after a first heat of 55.56 seconds, but their second run of 55.13 seconds was tough to beat.  The only other team to match their second finish time was Germany’s Thomas Florschuetz, who claimed gold to sweep the Winterberg races.  Holcomb’s total time of 1:50.69 moved the squad up two positions into fourth.

"It’s nice to move up, but it’s still hard to lose out on a medal by just a few hundredths," Holcomb said.  "I guess this just makes us hungrier to get it next time."

Florschuetz teamed with Gino Gerhardi, Kevin Kuske and Thomas Blaschek for a two-run total of 1:50.52.  Russia’s Alexander Zubkov was in the lead after the first run, but he was unable to respond to Germany’s flawless second run and fell 0.02 seconds into silver medal position with his crew of Philipp Egorov, Dmitry Trunenkov and Nikokay Hrenkov.  Latvians Oskars Melbardis, Helvijs Lusis, Arvis Vilkaste and Janis Strenga finished third with a total time of 1:50.65. 

Team USA-2 was delayed off the start in the first heat after the jury placed a track hold due to blowing snow. Despite the distraction, pilot John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.) and his crew of Jesse Beckom (Chicago, Ill.), Johnny Quinn (McKinney, Texas) and Chris Fogt (Alpine, Utah) remained composed and were able to power the National Guard sled off the block with consistent starts of 5.31 and 5.30 seconds.  Napier guided his sled to the finish in 56.19 and 55.76 seconds for a combined time of 1:51.95 for 15th place.

"We dealt with the weather again on the first heat, and unfortunately we weren’t able to pick up spots for the second run," Napier said.  "I know we are all looking forward to spending the holidays in our home country and coming back second half with our fire lit for some better finishes."

The tour will break for the holiday before resuming with races in Altenberg, Germany from Jan. 6-8.

"I hope that everyone who follows our sports has a blessed holiday with their families," Napier said.  "We hope you’ll continue to follow us in two weeks as we compete on the difficult Altenberg track."

For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at abird@usbsf.com, or at (518) 354-2250. 

Results
1. Florschuetz, Gerhardi, Kuske and Blaschek (GER) 1:50.52 (55.39, 55.13); 2. Zubkov, Egorov, Trunenkov and Hrenkov (RUS) 1:50.54 (55.38, 55.16); 3. Melbardis, Lusis, Vilkaste and Strenga (LAT) 1:50.65 (55.39, 55.26); 4. Holcomb, Olsen, Langton and Tomasevicz (USA) 1:50.69 (55.56, 55.13);…15. Napier, Beckom, Quinn and Fogt (USA) 1:51.95 (56.19, 55.76);

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, Under Armour, United States National Guard, Kampgrounds of America, National Strength and Conditioning Association, Vivat!, Global Forwarding, KBC Helmets, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, 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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