The first time Steven Holcomb took the controls of the new BMW-designed sleds that the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation hopes will win medals at next month’s Sochi Olympics, a problem immediately presented itself.
He drove into the wall, at the start of that first race.
"Getting everything right," Holcomb said, "was a process."
BMW and the USBSF chronicled that process and have turned it into a documentary, announced Friday and detailing how the team’s newest 2-man sleds were built and designed within an extremely tight timeframe.
The project, titled "Driving on Ice," is scheduled to air Sunday on NBC.
"Carmakers, they understand this," Holcomb said. "BMW understands how to make very fast, very drivable cars, and that’s what they’ve applied to bobsleds. It’s hands-down, in my opinion, the best sled on the hill."
The documentary largely revolves around Holcomb, who drove the Americans to gold in the 4-man race at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, and top women’s pilot Elana Meyers. Holcomb and Meyers are the best U.S. hopes for bobsled gold at the Sochi Games, and while the women’s program has medaled in past Olympics, no American 2-man sled has won a gold medal in the sport’s biggest race since 1936.
"We’ve won countless 2-man races, but not on that day," Holcomb said. "We just haven’t performed on that day. These new sleds will take a lot of pressure off. The sled will keep us competitive, and that’s a huge piece."
U.S. coach Brian Shimer tried in vain to end that 2-man Olympic victory drought when he was a pilot. He spoke in the documentary of the challenge of getting the sleds so late in the four-year cycle between Vancouver and Sochi.
"Knowing we haven’t dialed them in yet is a little nerve-racking," Shimer said on the film, an advance copy of which was reviewed by The Associated Press. "Are we going to get there prior to the big race?"
That’s largely the story line for the documentary.Next Page >
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