LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — For the first time in history, only American flags flew during a World Cup bobsled podium ceremony.
Park City native Steve Holcomb and Alpine’s Chris Fogt led a U.S. sweep of Saturday’s two-man bosbled World Cup in Lake Placid.
“It’s something, as a coach, I’ve seen in my career, especially with the Swiss flags flying, the German flags flying,” said U.S. men’s bobsled head coach Brian Shimer. “Now I get to witness it with the American flag flying. I couldn’t be more proud of the athletes, to see their hard work.”
The victory was Holcomb’s sixth in six races. He won the two-man competition on Friday with another member of his four-man crew, Steve Langton. Fogt and Langton have been taking turns pushing for Holcomb, with them winning two gold medals each.
Holcomb and Fogt won the race with a combined time of 1:50.19, followed by Nick Cunningham and Johnny Quinn (1:50.74) and Cory Butner and Chuck Berkeley (1:50.85).
“It’s good,” Holcomb said of having his teammates just fractions of seconds behind him. “Those guys keep me on my toes. Competition breeds excellence. Those guys are breathing down my neck so I have to step up my game. I think it’s great.”
He said that most people don’t understand that the men are both teammates and competitors, which can be a tricky balancing act. But Holcomb said this particular group has great camaraderie and it’s making for some historic success.
“The camaraderie is there,” Holcomb said. “When they’re doing well and are happy, it motivates us and motivates my guys. When these guys are doing well, it’s great to see them up there. They’ve worked hard and put a lot of hours in. To see them doing well is good.”
Cunningham, driver of USA 2, and push athlete Quinn won silver with a time of 1:50.74, while USA 3 pilot Butner and Berkeley won bronze with a time of 1:50.85. Cunningham watched Butner ensure himself of a medal before his final run and said it motivated him and Quinn.
“To be chasing down a guy of (Holcomb’s) caliber, and to even be in a conversation with him is unbelievable,” he said. “Today really does show the hard work that we put in this offseason, all the way down the line from everybody.”
He said the new BMW sleds, the sled techs and the coaches are as much a part of the victories as the athletes.
“Everyone won these medals today,” he said. “We can’t race without the best support in the world.”
Holcomb has been so dominant, it’s beginning to look easy for the defending Olympic champion.
“What Holcomb's doing it's embarrassing," Canadian pilot Lyndon Rush told the Associated Press after his fifth victory Friday.
Holcomb will race in the four-man competition with Langton, Fogt and his 2010 brakeman Curt Tomasevicz on Sunday at 1 p.m. EST.
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