The momentum we’re building heading into the Olympics is incredible. My team has worked so hard and sled technician Jim Garde has been working day in and day out making sure the sled does exactly what I need it to do. We came out today and put it all together, and it feels great to end the season on this note. —Steve Holcomb
KONIGSSEE, Germany — Steve Holcomb and the Night Train finished the World Cup season the way they started — with a gold medal.
It was Holcomb’s first World Cup win outside North America in four years, and it gave the Park City native and his crew the overall bobsled title.
“The momentum we’re building heading into the Olympics is incredible,” Holcomb said. “My team has worked so hard and sled technician Jim Garde has been working day in and day out making sure the sled does exactly what I need it to do. We came out today and put it all together, and it feels great to end the season on this note.”
Holcomb and his crew — fellow Utahn Chris Fogt, Steve Langton (Massachusetts) and Curt Tomasevicz (Nebraska) — won Sunday’s race with a total time of 1:38.54. They were in first place after the first run, and maintained their lead to win by .09 seconds.
Switzerland’s Hefti and crew earned second (1:38.63) with Canadian Lyndon Rush and his men finishing third (1:38.84).
Holcomb secured the two-man title on Saturday, competing with Tomasevicz for the first time this season. They finished seventh, which secured the overall two-man title. Sunday's win earned him the overall world cup championship — which is determined by a combination of points earned in two-man and four-man races.
Holcomb said the team had a boost from some adjustments to the sled, as well as the desire to give a hard-working teammate a stylish sendoff.
“We made some changes to the sled,” Holcomb said. “It’s running really well. Two awesome pushes from my guys. This is Curt’s last [World Cup] race, wanted to go out with a bang.”
Unfortunately, he doesn’t finish first in the four-man standings because of a crash in Winterberg, Germany, that lost him valuable points.
"It came down to the unfortunate crash we had in Winterberg," Holcomb said. "We would have won the overall four-man title if it hadn't been for that, and it goes to show that every race counts.”
Holcomb was optimistic about what their win in the final World Cup means for the upcoming Olympics, where he hopes to defend the gold medal he won in 2010.
“Our goal was a top five overall finish, and we not only met that, but actually exceeded it,” Holcomb said. “We're right where we want to be going into Sochi."
Driver of USA 2, Nick Cunningham (California), and his team — Justin Olsen (Texas), Johnny Quinn (Texas) and Abe Morlu (Arizona) — finished 10th in the original Night Train sled that Holcomb used to win gold in Vancouver.
The team struggled on the first run, but thanks to a quick second run, they moved up from 13th to 10th place.
On the women’s side, Elana Meyers (Georgia) and Aja Evans (Illinois) won silver in the final World Cup.
"That was an unexpected finish to the season," Meyers said. "I knew it would take solid drives throughout the entire season, and I definitely couldn't have done it without my teammates, coaches and a great staff. All three pilots finished the season ranked in the top ten, and that's really incredible for Team USA."
The silver medal gave Meyers and Evans a second-place finish in the overall World Cup standings — just one point behind Canada’s Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse, who were third in Sunday’s race. Humphies scored 1,629, while Meyer was 1,628 points. Pennsylvania’s Jamie Greubel finished in third with 1,563, and Jazmine Felnator (New Jersey) was seventh with 1,266.
"I didn't have any expectations of medaling when I started driving four year ago," Meyers said. "Coming in as a driver, I was fortunate to have Jamie, Jazmine (Fenlator) and Bree Schaaf pushing me as teammates and competitors. I owe a lot to them for helping me become the pilot I am today."
Fenlator and Lolo Jones were fourth after the first run, but a skid on the snow dropped them to eighth on the second run.
Greubel and Lauryn Williams finished 10th, also struggling in the snow.