Steven Holcomb, Carlo Valdes, Jimmy Reed and Sam McGuffie earned their second four-person world cup podium of the season with a bronze medal Sunday on the Igls track in Austria, moving Holcomb into the top three in the season standings with one race remaining.
The three-time Olympian earned 200 points to improve to 1,218 for the season, leapfrogging him over two sleds and into the top three, 43 points away from second place. The medal is Holcomb’s four-person second of the season, along with a silver earned in December in Lake Placid, New York, where he teamed with the same push crew.
"These guys are working well together and coming together as a team, as one unit, both on and off the ice," Holcomb said to USA Bobsled & Skeleton. "It's paying off at the start and they are motivated to get into the medals each week. This is the push crew we've been looking for."
Saturday’s bronze was Holcomb’s first four-person medal on a European track since January 2014.
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With only one race remaining on the world cup schedule, the March 17-19 Olympic test event in PyeongChang, South Korea, Holcomb is positioned for his best four-person finish since winning both the two- and four-man titles in 2014. He also is second in the two-man standings with 1,219 points, 49 points ahead of Russia’s Alexander Kasjanov.
A veteran pilot with three Olympic medals to his credit, Holcomb used his driving experience to overcome a pair of slow starts and put his sled into the medals in a tightly contested race that saw gold and bronze separated by only 0.06 seconds. The winning Latvian sled of Oskars Melbardis had a total time of 1:42.01, which was 0.05 faster than Switzerland’s Rico Peter.
Holcomb and crew logged a 1:42.07 and were a mere 0.01 seconds away from improving their position for the second consecutive week, having missed a bronze medal by that margin last week in Königssee, Germany.
Justin Olsen finished 21st, missing advancement to Sunday’s second run by 0.10 seconds, while Codie Bascue was 25th.
The team now turns its attention to preparation for the upcoming world championships Feb. 17-26 in Königssee, Germany.