Winter sports roundup: Park City native Steve Holcomb wins double gold at World Cup event
Tom Smart, Deseret News
CALGARY, Canada — Park City native Steve Holcomb returns to his hometown track this week after sweeping the season’s first World Cup competitions over the weekend.
Holcomb and Steve Langton broke a track record to win gold in the two-man bobsled competition on Friday night.
“It’s an interesting feeling knowing that no one has been faster than us down this track,” Holcomb said after the victory. “It’s pretty cool to have a track record on an established track, and it’s actually my first track record in two-man.”
Their combined time was 1:29.22 — 0.16 seconds faster than any other sled. The good news is Holcomb believes there is still speed to be found.
“Langton gave me two great starts,” Holcomb said. “I think we could have pushed even faster, but I’m getting old and not recovering as quickly from traveling as I used to. I made a few mistakes that added up and I think there’s still some room to go even faster.”
Holcomb and the Night Train crew, which includes Langton, Alpine native Chris Fogt and Curt Tomasevicz, won gold Saturday night in the four-man World Cup.
“It’s been a fantastic weekend,” Holcomb said. “It’s Olympic year, and this is when it counts. Walking away from the season opener with two gold medals feels really good.”
USA 1 won with a two-run time of 1:48.56, while Germany’s Maximilian Arndt and Russian Alexander Zubkov tied for second place with a combined time of 1:48.65.
“It blows my mind that after two runs teams can be tied,” Holcomb said. “No one is slouching this year. You have to want and take every hundredth to win.”
Holcomb will compete in two-man bobsled on Friday night and in four-man World Cup races on Saturday at the Utah Olympic Park. General Admission is free.
DISQUALIFICATION SPOILS PIKUS-PACE VICTORY
Orem native Noelle Pikus-Pace won the season-opening skeleton World Cup in Calgary this weekend. But instead of celebrating her victory atop the first podium of the Olympic season, she was devastated when officials disqualified her.
Assistant U.S. coach Zach Lund said the reason for the disqualification was a piece of tape on the handle of her sled about the size of a nickel.
“It’s a travesty,” Lund said. “There’s no competitive advantage, and we are really disappointed.”
More frustrating for Pikus-Pace was the fact that her sled passed inspection earlier in the week and hadn’t been altered between the inspection and the race.
U.S. head skeleton coach Tuffy Latour said Pikus-Pace won’t allow the disappointment to discourage her.
“Noelle is devastated,” Latour said. “She didn’t violate the spirit of the rule. But I’ll tell you what, this has released the lioness in her. She is going to be on a tear, and I have no doubt she’ll be back on the medal stand next week in Park City, Utah.”
Pikus-Pace will compete in the second World Cup of the season Friday morning at the Utah Olympic Park.
SPEEDSKATERS EARN HARDWARE IN KAZAKHSTAN
The U.S. long track speedskaters shook off jet lag in the second day of World Cup competition with two gold medals.
Brittany Bowe won her first 1,500-meter gold with a time of 1:57.28, while Shani Davis won his third straight 1,000-meter race with a time of 1:08.66. The victory puts Davis in position to do something no other skater has done — win a sixth World Cup title in the 1,000 meters.
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