Winter sports: Holcomb's bobsled winning streak ends
Winterberg, Germany • Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann of Switzerland won a World Cup 2-man bobsled competition Friday, ending American pilot Steven Holcomb's seven-race overall winning streak to start the season.
Hefti and Baumann finished two runs in 1 minute, 52.68 seconds. Russia's Alexsandr Zubkov and Alexey Voevoda were second in 1:53.14. Cory Butner won his second medal of the season for the U.S., teaming with Chuck Berkeley to finish in 1:53.15 and take the bronze, a mere 0.01 seconds away from winning the silver.
Park City's Holcomb and teammate Steven Langton struggled in their first run with only the ninth-best time and wound up finishing seventh overall in 1:53.45.
Nick Cunningham and Justin Olsen of the U.S. were 12th, doomed by a mistake-filled second run after being tied for fourth at the midway point of the competition.
Hefti and Baumann were 0.33 seconds faster than Butner and Berkeley in the opening run, giving them a big margin of error to work with. The next nine sleds in the field were separated by only 0.35 seconds.
Holcomb remained the leader in the 2-man overall points chase, now with 1,068, 103 ahead of Hefti, who moved up one spot into second place. Butner also moved up a spot, now sitting in third with 935 points.
Martins Dukurs of Latvia won a World Cup skeleton race in Winterberg by a huge margin, re-establishing himself as the Olympic favorite after topping the field by more than a second.
Dukurs finished two runs down a rain-soaked track in 1 minute, 54.93 seconds for his second victory in four races this season and his sixth win all-time on that course. He won by a huge margin for sliding, topping Tomass Dukurs, his brother, by 1.19 seconds.
Matt Antoine who was second after the first run finished fourth for the U.S., one spot ahead of teammate John Daly, who posted his second straight top-five showing.
Justin Dorey led a Canadian sweep in the World Cup freestyle halfpipe event in Calgary, Alberta, edging Noah Bowman for the top spot. Dorey had a two-run score of 87.20 points for his first World Cup victory.
Britain's Rowan Cheshire won the women's event with 80.40 points.
Women's ski jumping
Sara Takanashi of Japan extended her domination of the women's ski jump World Cup by earning her fourth straight victory to start the season, underlining her status as the overwhelming favorite for the Sochi Olympics. Takanashi landed jumps of 99 and 96.5 meters for a total of 232.6 points at the night event in Chaikovsky, Russia. Carina Vogt of Germany had longer jumps in both rounds but received lower marks from the judges to finish 0.9 points behind in second place.
Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway won the men's 10-kilometer sprint in Oberhof, Germany, for his 32nd career biathlon World Cup victory. Svendsen missed two targets and finished in 26 minutes, 44.3 seconds to edge compatriot Ole Einar Bjoerndalen by 0.4 of a second.
Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway increased his overall lead in the Tour de Ski with a comfortable win in Dobaccio, Italy, in the fifth of seven stages, showing that he'll be a top medal contender at next month's Sochi Olympics. Sundby clocked 1 hour, 20 minutes, 18.7 seconds over the grueling 35-kilometer freestyle pursuit from Cortina d'Ampezzo to Dobbiaco the first half of which was virtually all uphill.
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