Lake Placid, N.Y. • The scene has played out the same way in five races this season. Steven Holcomb emerges from his sled, removes his helmet and laments whatever mistakes he’s made.
Then he goes to pick up a gold medal.
His results couldn’t be better. The scary thing for the rest of the sliding world might be his insistence that he still has many ways to improve.
Holcomb is now 5-for-5 in World Cup races this season, teaming with Steve Langton to win a 2-man race at Mount Van Hoevenberg on Friday to extend his perfect start. Holcomb and Langton finished two runs in 1 minute, 50.62 seconds, beating Switzerland’s Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann by 0.63 seconds.
"What Holcomb’s doing ... it’s embarrassing," Canadian pilot Lyndon Rush said.
By any measure, Holcomb has been dominant in sweeping 2- and 4-man races at Calgary and Park City to open the season, and he now has two more chances to win on home ice in Lake Placid this weekend. He will race with Chris Fogt in another 2-man race Saturday, then pair with Curt Tomasevicz, Fogt and Langton for a 4-man race Sunday — the last World Cup event in North America before the circuit shifts to Europe.
"The last few years we’ve been testing a lot of stuff, changing things around; our sleds were kind of falling apart a little bit because of a lack of maintenance," Holcomb said. "So, yeah, everyone kind of thought we were kind of out of the game. I think they realize we’re back now. We’ve refined everything, this is the year it counts, everything we’ve learned over the last four years is now being applied and it’s going to pay off."
Friday’s race was over early.
Holcomb and Langton were the third sled to start in the first heat and finished in 54.93 seconds. No one came close to getting near them.
Nick Cunningham and Dallas Robinson of the U.S. finished the opening heat in 55.46 seconds, second by a wide margin, so to say Holcomb and Langton were dominant in the first run would have been accurate and probably an understatement.
The gap between first and second place at that point: 0.53 seconds.
World Cup skeleton
In Lake Placid, N.Y., Matt Antoine got his first victory and Noelle Pikus-Pace continued her winning ways Friday, as the United States swept the men’s and women’s World Cup skeleton races at Mount Van Hoevenberg.
Both won by wide margins. Antoine’s two-run time was 1 minute, 47.58 seconds, putting him over the finish line 0.63 seconds ahead of Russia’s Alexander Tretiakov. Pikus-Pace finished in 1:51.37, 0.46 seconds better than Germany’s Anja Huber.
U.S. sliders have won 10 of the 14 gold medals awarded so far on the World Cup bobsled and skeleton circuit this season. It would be 11 golds if Pikus-Pace hadn’t been disqualified after finishing first in the season-opening race in Calgary, Alberta.
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