Photo by Charlie Booker
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland – Steve Holcomb and Nick Cunningham have brought their Bo-Dyn built Night Train bobsleds this week to St. Moritz, the 1928 and 1948 Winter Olympic host, for Sunday’s World Cup four man competition.
The American Olympians will race the tour’s longest course in a setting of fur coats and international jet setters. This is the cradle of European bobsledding, and if there is one stop where celebrities want to be seen, this is it.
Formula One driver Michael Schumacher appeared here several years ago, and U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn, after setting the record for most career victories in the women’s World Cup with 63 earlier this week, will compete on the slopes above the village.
The track, which begins not far from the famous Badrutt’s Palace Hotel in St. Moritz and ends well over a mile later near Celerina, is also hand-made each winter. Ice from nearby Lake St. Moritz is brought to the course and workers literally create the oldest bobsled run in the world.
The crews push away from the ominously-named Starthaus Dracula and pass through famous curves known as Sunny and Horse Shoe. On the trip down the sleds pay homage to the famous Italian world and Olympic champion Eugenio Monti, who has a lower start location – Monti’s Bolt - named in his memory.
Holcomb, the three-time Olympic medalist including the 2010 gold medal in the original Night Train, is looking for his first podium result of the season in the AdvoCare-branded Night Train 2 sled. Cunningham, piloting the original Night Train as he did in Sochi nearly one year ago, has similar goals.
It’s been a rebuilding year for the U.S. bobsled program as many 2014 Olympians have stepped out of the sport. Now the newcomers are getting their first look at world class winter sport while the coaching staff tries to find the right combination of driver and push athletes.
Television commentator John Morgan has summarized this season that the big differences in the U.S. performances have come at the start. One week ago, Holcomb finished ninth in Koenigssee, Germany with less-than-competitive start times. A season earlier, just prior to Sochi, he won the same race with the best starts in the field.
A top three result on Sunday will begin with a fast getaway from Dracula.
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