Germans Tough at Home, Taking Gold-Silver; US Finishes 9-13-16
KOENIGSSEE, Germany - Steve Holcomb teamed with a new push crew combination this week of Justin Olsen, James Reed and Carlo Valdes to lead the U.S. team with a ninth place finish in Koenigssee’s four-person bobsled World Cup race today.
“These guys did a great job at the start today, especially after just a few days pushing together,” Holcomb said. “We made a slight error in the first run, but we were able to learn a few things that will help us get better and we’re making improvements every week.”
The crew was in the mix off the start block with push times of 4.91 and 4.93 seconds. Holcomb piloted his Night Train 2 sled to the finish in 49.20 and 49.36 seconds for a combined time of 1:38.56 for another top-10 finish this season.
“I have very few runs over here in comparison to the North American tracks, so every time I’m here I’m focused on nailing each run and figuring these tracks out,” Holcomb said. “I work on the things that I know I can control, and I know my crew will push their hearts out each week. I can’t ask for more than that.”
Holcomb captured the Koenigssee four-person victory last season, just weeks before winning two bronze medals at the 2014 Sochi Games. Holcomb said maintaining the top rank year after year is challenging.
“You can’t maintain number one all the time,” Holcomb said. “We’re a different team this year and rebuilding, and I’m just going to relax and focus on staying healthy and working on the things that I know I can improve on while the team continues to grow towards 2018.”
Maximilian Arndt slid to the victory in front of a hometown crowd with his team of Kevin Korona, Alexander Roediger and Ben Heber. The German squad clocked a total time of 1:37.72 to finish a mere 0.02 seconds ahead of teammates Nico Walther, Andreas Bredau, Marko Huebenbecker and Christian Poser, who claimed silver. Latvian Oskars Melbardis denied the Germans a sweep of the medals when he and his crew of Daumants Dreiskens, Arvis Vilkaste and Janis Strenga secured bronze in 1:37.86.
Nick Cunningham and his crew of David Cremin, Alex Harrison and Sam Michener finished 13th with a two-run combined time of 1:39.00. The crew was in the top-10 after the first run, but a few mistakes in the final heat were enough to drop the team back three spots. Cunningham, Cremin, Harrison and Michener, who teamed together for the first time ever this week, clocked identical starts of 4.94 seconds for runs of 49.31 and 49.69 seconds.
Codie Bascue teamed with Adam Clark, Adrian Adams and Aaron Victorian in the Classroom Champions sled for 16th place. The 20-year-old had a much-improved second run to move the team up two spots with a total time of 1:39.37. The crew pushed starts of 4.96 and 4.91 for runs of 49.78 and 49.59 seconds, respectively.
Written by Amanda Bird
Steve Holcomb and Nick Cunningham are driving Bo-Dyn built Night Train bobsleds. Holcomb’s Night Train 2, which he drove to the 2014 Olympic bronze medal, is AdvoCare branded. Cunningham is piloting the original Night Train that Holcomb used in winning Olympic gold in 2010.
1. Arndt, Korona, Roediger and Heber (GER) 1:37.72 (48.80, 48.92); 2. Walther, Bredau, Huebenbecker and Poser (GER) 1:37.74 (48.78, 48.96); 3. Melbardis, Dreiskens, Vilkaste and Strenga (LAT) 1:37.86 (48.92, 48.94);…9. Holcomb, Olsen, Reed and Valdes (USA) 1:38.56 (49.20, 49.36);…13. Cunningham, Cremin, Harrison and Michener (USA) 1:39.00 (49.31, 49.69);…16. Bascue, Victorian, Clark and Adams (USA) 1:39.37 (49.78, 49.59)