Bobsled driver Steven Holcomb shook off his recent frustrations and won a two-man race Saturday in Austria to snap a streak of four years without a World Cup victory outside of North America.
The Park City native had not even medaled in five races in Europe following a 7-for-7 start to the World Cup season in North America.
But he and brakeman Steve Langton raced to a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 43.72 seconds to beat Switzerland’s Beat Hefti by 0.23 seconds in Igls, Austria — the same place the Americans finished 14th while debuting an early version of their new BMW-designed sled last year.
Hefti had won the previous two races, ahead of Russia’s Alexandr Zubkov, who was third Saturday.
"Last year we debuted the prototype and didn’t do well," Holcomb said. "It’s nice to come back and redeem ourselves. We’ve spent a lot of time this season tweaking the sled and we showed today that it can be really fast. I’m excited."
Holcomb still has the four-man race remaining Sunday in the penultimate stop of the season.
But he has to be encouraged by his results with less than three weeks until the Sochi Olympics begin in Russia. Holcomb hadn’t won a race in Europe since before he won his historic four-man gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics in Canada, and hadn’t won a two-man race there since Feb. 10, 2007.
Meanwhile, Orem native and Eagle Mountain resident Noelle Pikus-Pace was officially named to the U.S. skeleton roster for Sochi, as expected. The U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Federation will name its bobsled roster after racing in Igls on Sunday, with both Holcomb and Alpine native Chris Fogt expected to be on it.
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