KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – Steve Holcomb’s final four-man Olympic run in this resort above Sochi nearly one year ago produced a stirring bronze medal in the Bo-Dyn built Night Train 2 bobsled. The American came from fourth place to third in the third run and then held position in the fourth heat for his third Olympic medal.
Fifty weeks later, Holcomb started training for World Cup action on the same Sanki Sliding Center track. His first run down the intricate course, that features three uphill sections, was nearly as exciting as rookie push athlete/brakeman Carlo Valdes fell out of the sled at the start. It was no way for Valdes to celebrate his birthday.
On the bright side, at least it occurred in training and not in the race. However, with the brakeman out of the sled, the training heat did not count. Crews need to complete two runs with all members prior to the race.
No harm, no foul, though, as Holcomb discussed the unusual development after his training.
With these preliminaries out of the way, Holcomb, in his AdvoCare-branded sled, hopes good karma from last February will bring him closer to the World Cup podium after winning bronze in both 2014 Olympic races.
The timing would be perfect as the tour returns to Germany later this month for the season-ending World Championships in Winterberg.
Meanwhile many athletes and officials are in the Russian Olympic region for the first time since last season’s Olympic Winter Games.
Information returning to the States this week indicates that the World Cup provisions are as well organized as the Olympics themselves. For some teams, however, this was not enough enticement to make the trip from central Europe as sled counts for the World Cup finale are low.
Here’s what those nations missed: the World Cup “family” of bobsledders, skeleton racers, coaches and officials were flown via charter from Munich to Sochi; hotel accommodations are reported to be outstanding; the track is in excellent condition; all team expenses are being paid by the organizers; $8,000 will be issued to all race winners and every competitor will receive prize money.
To that we’ll just repeat last February’s theme: Sochi DA!
Races will be broadcast on Universal Sports same day delay. The two-man bobsled, women’s bobsled and women’s skeleton races will air on Feb. 14 from 2-5 PM ET. The four-person and men’s skeleton competition will air on
Feb. 15 from 3-5 PM ET.
You can also watch the live stream of competition on www.fibt.com.