He didn’t have the greatest all-around competition, but defending world champion Steven Holcomb laid down a blistering run when it counted to grab a bronze medal in four-man bobsled Sunday on the final day of the world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
The 32-year-old Park City native drove his famous “Night Train” sled to a record-breaking run in the last of four heats, after a roaring push start from teammates Steve Langton, Justin Olsen and Curtis Tomasevicz. The Americans held off Swiss driver Beat Hefti by 0.04 seconds for a bronze medal, after winning gold in a historic sweep last year.
“I wish I could have done that in all four heats,” Holcomb said. “We were the guys to beat as the defending champions, and it was a tough race. We didn’t make it easy on the competition, and I’m happy with how we did.”
After fixing a driving mistake from the third run, Holcomb clocked a track-record 1 minute, 4.65 seconds in the final heat, for a four-run combined time of 4:21.26.
They had to endure final runs from Hefti, as well as fellow Swiss Rico Peter and Great Britain’s John Jackson, before celebrating their bronze.
“It wasn’t our plan to make it this exciting,” Holcomb said. “I wanted to win the thing. We stepped it up and posted a track record, so I’m really happy with that. If I’d put four of those together, we would have been up there fighting for a medal of a different color, but that’s racing. My team did an outstanding job, and we’re feeling confident heading to the Olympic track.”
The World Cup circuit resumes on the new track for the 2014 Sochi Olympics in two weeks.
Germany’s Maximilian Arndt overtook Russia’s Alexandr Zubkov on the final day to claim gold in 4:20.67, with Zubkov second in 4:21.14.
The Americans were just 0.12 seconds behind, after finishing fourth in the two-man competition last weekend. Orem’s Noelle Pikus-Pace won silver in the women’s skeleton in St. Moritz, as well.
Alpine’s Chris Fogt finished 19th, as a push athlete for driver Nick Cunningham.