ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (Jan. 22, 2017)- Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) and his push crew of Jimmy Reed (Garmisch, Germany), Sam McGuffie (Cypress, Texas) and Sam Michener (Gresham, Ore.) finished 15th in today's four-man bobsled World Cup in St. Moritz with a combined time of 2:09.76.
"We had a mishap at the start, and it's a long, flat straightaway, so a mistake on a slow part of the track really can hurt you," Holcomb said. "We don't have an accelerator in a bobsled to make that up."
The crew was at a disadvantage with an early start order on the all-natural ice of the St. Moritz track, which speeds up throughout the day. Holcomb, Reed, McGuffie and Michener were in 14th position after a first run time of 1:05.98, but a skid out of the start grooves in run two bumped them back one spot with a second run downtime of 1:04.78. The crew, which raced together for the first time today, clocked starts of 5.14 and 5.11 seconds in the new BMW sled.
"The two-man and four-man sleds have a different steering system, so it takes me a few corners before I get my groove," Holcomb said. "I didn't drive as well as I should have, especially knowing how fast we were yesterday. We just have to suck it up and move on."
Holcomb teamed with Valdes yesterday for the two-man bronze medal, and Holcomb is currently ranked third overall in two-man World Cup standings. He's currently ranked fourth in four-man standings.
Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas), a novice pilot on the World Cup tour, teamed with Austin Landis (Nashville, Tenn.), Evan Weinstock (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Lou Moreira (Somerville, Mass.) for 19th place in the Night Train 2 sled. The crew led Team USA in the first heat with a time of 1:04.93, 12th best of the field, but a snag loading into the sled in run two was enough to scrub their speed in run two. Team Olsen clocked a second run of 1:05.31 for a combined time of 2:10.24. The crew pushed start times of 5.07 and 5.09 seconds in the two-heat competition.
"This sport is more mental than people think," Olsen said. "You can't will yourself to go faster. If we try to perform outside of our limits and will ourselves to a faster time, we're going to go backwards. I'm a little frustrated that we weren't consistent today, but I made a mistake in the second heat. We're walking away from this week having benefitted and learned, so I'm going to take the positives out of these races so we can use them to continue to grow."
After the first heat there was a tie for second position, and those two teams were just 0.01 seconds off the pace of the leader. A small gap of 0.38 seconds separated the leader from team Olsen in 12th for one of the tightest competitions of the season so far.
Latvia's Oskars Kibermanis, Janis Jansons, Matiss Miknis and Raivis Zirups were victorious with an aggregate time of 2:08.60, followed by their teammates Oskars Melbardis, Daumants Dreiskens, Arvis Vilkaste and Janis Strenga in second in 2:08.73. Germans Francesco Friedrich, Florian Bauer, Martin Grothkopp and Thorsten Margis posted a total time of 2:08.90 for third.
Codie Bascue (Whitehall, N.Y.) teamed with Frank Del Duca (Bethel, Maine), Adrian Adams (Reidsville, N.C.) and Christopher Kinney (Stockbridge, Ga.) for 30th place. The crew clocked a start time of 5.19 seconds for first run downtime of 1:05.86. The team missed the top-20 cutoff for the second heat.
Today's four-man race concludes the St. Moritz World Cup. The tour will make its sixth stop in Koenigssee, Germany next week.
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1. Oskars Kibermanis, Janis Jansons, Ravis Zirups and Matiss Miknis (LAT) 2:08.60 (1:04.55, 1:04.05);
2. Oskars Melbardis, Daumants Dreiskens, Arvis Vilkaste and Janis Strenga (LAT) 2:08.73 (1:04.56, 1:04.17);
3. Francesco Friedrich, Florian Bauer, Martin Grothkopp and Thorsten Margis (GER) 2:08.90 (1:04.73, 1:04.17);
15. Steve Holcomb, Jimmy Reed, Sam McGuffie and Sam Michener (USA) 2:09.76 (1:04.98, 1:04.78);
19. Justin Olsen, Lou Moreira, Austin Landis and Evan Weinstock (USA) 2:10.24 (1:04.93, 1:05.31);
30. Codie Bascue, Frank Del Duca, Chris Kinney and Adrian Adams (USA) 1:05.86 (1:05.86, DNS)