Winter sports: Steven Holcomb misses shot at U.S. sweep in bobsled
Steven Holcomb didn't get that coveted sweep in the World Cup bobsled season opener. There was a silver lining in his second-place finish in four-man, though teammate Nick Cunningham was standing on the podium next to him.
Alexander Zubkov of Russia won the race on Saturday at Mount Van Hoevenberg, sending a message that he'll be a force at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Still, the Americans departed for competition next week in Park City, with six medals already in the bank. Holcomb and Cory Butner finished 1-2 in Friday's two-man competition, not long after Jazmine Fenlator and Elana Meyers had won silver and bronze in the women's race with track stars Lolo Jones and Tianna Bartoletta as brakewomen pushing in their first World Cup event.
"We had a great finish today with Nick as well. That's awesome," said Holcomb, a Park City resident and the defending Olympic champion in four-man. "We've got a lot of momentum going into next week."
Zubkov and his team of Alexey Negodaylo, Dmitry Trunenkov and Maxim Mokrousov finished the two runs down the 20-curve layout in 1 minute, 50.15 seconds on a warm, sunny Saturday. That was 0.19 seconds ahead of Holcomb and his crew of Justin Olsen, Steve Langton and Curt Tomasevicz.
American Shiffrin 3rd in World Cup slalom
Slalom • In Levi, Finland, Olympic champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany overcame a hip injury to win the season's first World Cup slalom, with 17-year-old American Mikaela Shiffrin in third place.
In a race 80 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the northernmost venue on the circuit, Hoefl-Riesch skied an excellent second run to overtake Finland's Tanja Poutiainen, who finished second.
Defending overall World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn skipped the slalom to prepare for races in Aspen, Colo.
Shiffrin was third last year in a slalom in Lienz, Austria. She was competing for the first time in Levi.
"I'm speechless, really," Shiffrin said. "I couldn't really ask for more. ... This is going to give me a lot of confidence."
Americans finish two, three in free program
Figure skating • In Moscow, Kiira Korpi of Finland overcame jetlag to win gold in the Rostelecom Cup Grand Prix event on Saturday with an athletic and emotional free program. Americans Gracie Gold and Agnes Zawadzki were second and third.
In pairs, Russia's Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov won gold despite an error-ridden free program, prevailing over Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov of Russia and Americans Caydee Denney and John Coughlin.