LAKE PLACID, N. Y. — Another race, another gold medal.
Steve Holcomb and his crew won the gold medal at World Championships Sunday in Lake Placid to cap what is a historic week for the U.S. bobsled team.
Holcomb's win comes just a week after he became the first American to win gold in the two-man bobsled championships, an event which began in 1931. He also helped the U.S. to a team title for the first time in that event's four-year history.
"I'm a little overwhelmed," the Park City native said after the race. "It's just like it is in any other big race you win. It's going to take a little bit to sink in. You're so focused on trying to get to this moment that when you get there it's hard to really fathom that you're actually here."
He and his crew, Steve Langton (who helped him earn the two-man gold), Justin Olsen and Curt Tomasevicz won the event with a combined (four-run) time of 3:36.83. Maximillian Arndt was a half second behind for silver and last year's world champ, Manuel Machata, Germany, earned bronze.
Holcomb said he was not nervous and the only pressure he felt was because the team was unsure how they compared to other sleds going into Saturday's first two rounds.
"I felt a little pressure before the first day, but it wasn't so much because of what we were trying to do," he said in a telephone interview with the Deseret News. "We were changing some things around, trying different things, and we'd been all over the place. I didn't know where we stood. Was my driving bad? Was the sled slow? Were my guys pushing slow? It was the fear of the unknown. I didn't know how we were faring against the rest of the field. And I didn't know why."
Weather issues made testing equipment an issue and he didn't know if other teams were doing the same kinds of experiments as he was.
In the end, Holcomb went with what has worked for him since he won his first World Champinship in 2009 (the first for the U.S. in 50 years at the time).
"I used the same sled I won with in 2009 and at the Olympics in 2010," he said. "I use it because it's fast and I'm confident in it."
His first run wasn't what he wanted it to be, but he made up for it the second time down the track. By then the nerves were gone, replaced with confidence.
"I made some mistakes in the first run," he said. "I didn't drive very well.. I made some mistakes that are not characteristic of my style. So, on the second run, I made up for it and got two-tenths of a second back."
And then he and the team had some dinner, relaxed and he went home and slept peacefully.
"I wanted to make history," he said. "I wanted to win. At the same time, at the end of the day, I was in the lead. The top five was within reach. This is where I wanted to be. I've been here before. I know what to do."
And Sunday morning he went out and did it better than anyone else in the world.
The U.S. finished with a nice haul at these worlds, an encouraging sign midway to the next Winter Olympics in Sochi: Holcomb's two golds, a gold in the team event, Katie Uhlaender's gold in women's skeleton, and a bronze won by Elana Meyers in women's bobsled.
"It's always what you shoot for," Holcomb said. "It's the first time we've won all three (bobsled) events. That's pretty incredible."
Contributing: Associated Press
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