PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (March 19, 2017)- Three-time Olympic medalist Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) teamed with Carlo Valdes (Newport Beach, Calif.), Jimmy Reed (Garmisch, Germany) and Sam McGuffie (Cypress, Texas) to round out the 2016-2017 season ranked third in both four-man bobsled World Cup standings and combined two-man and four-man standings after finishing 10th in today's World Cup finale on the 2018 Olympic track.
"I feel pretty good," Holcomb said. "The final rankings came down to the very last run, it was pretty close. I got lucky that people close to me didn't have as good of runs as they could have, which helped us out. Considering where we were a year ago, I'm happy with our overall finish."
Holcomb, Valdes, Reed and McGuffie pushed the BMW sled off the start block in 4.96 seconds and Holcomb threaded together a run of 50.23 seconds to tie Germany's Francesco Friedrich and crew for 10th going into the final run of the season. Team USA rallied together in the second run for another competitive start time of 4.97 seconds, and Holcomb bettered their downtime to 50.22 seconds to overtake team Friedrich by a mere 0.01 seconds with a combined time of 1:40.45 to not only secure 10th place, but third place in four-man and combined standings.
Three medals in two-man racing this season, including a victory in Lake Placid, N.Y., and two medals in four-man highlighted Holcomb's season. He struggled to find a rhythm at the start of the season and Holcomb admitted he considered retiring from the sport, but 13 top-10 finishes and five medals kept the former World Champion hungry for more.
"I think people started to count me out at the beginning of the season and I even thought that maybe it was time to hang it up," Holcomb said. "To come back and redeem ourselves like this, I'm pretty happy. These guys on the team have heard stories about our winning seasons and it's almost like a myth to them, so to have them see the crystal globe and see it come to fruition in front of them and know that we can win is huge. I hope it carries over into next season as we ramp up for the Olympic season."
Russia's Alexander Kasjanov, Alexei Pushkarev, Vasiliy Kondratenko and Alexey Zaitsev were victorious today with a total time of 1:39.96. Rico Peter, Janne Bror van der Zijde, Alex Baumann and Thomas Amrhein from Switzerland were second in 1:40.19, while Latvians Oskars Kibermanis, Janis Jansons, Matiss Miknis and Raivis Zirups were third in 1:40.22.
Kasjanov secured the overall four-man title with 1,500 points, followed by Peter in second place with 1,471 points and Holcomb in third with 1,362 points.
Friedrich entered today's race ranked first in combined standings, just 84 points ahead of Holcomb in second. Friedrich held onto his overall combined title with 2,769 points, while Kasjonov's win today was enough to bolster him into second with 2,766 points. Holcomb wrapped up his season ranked third in combined standings with 2,693 points.
Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas), Austin Landis (Nashville, Tenn.), Evan Weinstock (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Sam Michener (Gresham, Ore.) established themselves as one of the teams to beat off the start block after ripping off a push time of 4.89 seconds to tie Latvians Oskars Melbardis, Daumants Dreiskens, Arvis Vilkaste and Janis Strenga for the push record in heat one. Olsen, still a rookie driver, piloted the Night Train sled down the 2018 Olympic track in 50.42 seconds, the 16th best time of the run. The crew matched their start time in run two, and Olsen bettered their run time to 50.34 seconds for a combined time of 1:40.76 to move up into 15th. Team Melbardis mustered a start time of 4.88 seconds in the final heat to claim the start record by 0.01 seconds, giving Olsen's crew something to chase next season. Olsen capped his first season as a driver on the World Cup tour ranked 19th in four-man standings and 16th in the combined overall standings.
Codie Bascue (Whitehall, N.Y.) and his push crew of Luis Moreira (Somerville, Mass.), Christopher Kinney (Stockbridge, Ga.) and Brent Fogt (Alpine, Utah) clocked a two-run total of 1:41.31 for 20th position. The crew pushed start times of 4.98 in both heats, and Bascue navigated the Night Train II sled to the finish in 50.59 and 50.72 seconds. Bascue rounded out his season ranked 16th in four-man and 15thc in combined overall.
Today's four-man race officially concludes the 2016-2017 World Cup season. Team USA will head back to Lake Placid, N.Y. for USA National Championships before beginning the offseason in preparation for the Olympic year.
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1. Alexander Kasjanov, Alexei Pushkarev, Vasiliy Kondratenko and Alexey Zaitsev (RUS) 1:39.96 (49.99, 49.97);
2. Rico Peter, Janne Bror van der Zijde, Alex Baumann and Thomas Amrhein (SUI) 1:40.19 (50.15, 50.04);
3. Oskars Kibermanis, Janis Jansons, Matiss Miknis and Raivis Zirups (LAT) 1:40.22 (50.07, 50.15);
10. Steven Holcomb, Carlo Valdes, Jimmy Reed and Sam McGuffie (USA) 1:40.45 (50.23, 50.22);
15. Justin Olsen, Evan Weinstock, Austin Landis and Sam Michener (USA) 1:40.76 (50.42, 50.34);
20. Codie Bascue, Luis Moreira, Adrian Adams and Brent Fogt (USA) 1:41.31 (50.59, 50.72);
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