Holcomb, Langdon Deliver Rare Bronze in the Bobsled
Krasnaya Polyana, Russia — The first thing Steven Holcomb noticed when he crossed the finish line Monday night was that the Russian fans were wildly cheering.
Not a good sign, the USA-1 pilot figured.
The next second felt like forever. Had he medaled? Had he blown it? He had no idea. But as his sled slowed to a stop, friendly, joyous faces — people clad in red, white and blue — came into view.
“I saw the flood of Americans coming up and over the wall,” Holcomb said, “and that’s when I knew.”
Victory was not his. But he’d ended another 62-year drought for U.S. bobsledding, and that was more than enough. Holcomb and Steve Langton won the bronze medal in two-man bobsledding at the Sochi Games, the first Olympic medal by an American sled in the event since 1952.
By now, 62 must be Holcomb’s favorite number. His four-man gold medal at the Vancouver Games also snapped a 62-year U.S. drought in that race.
Russia’s Alexander Zubkov and Alexey Voevoda won the gold in a dominant home-ice show, beating the Swiss team of Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann by 0.66 seconds.
Germany’s win in the team event ended Austria’s winning streak. It had won gold in the last two Olympics and hasn’t lost a team large hill event since the 2005 world championships. Germany’s team included Andreas Wank, Marinus Kraus, Andres Wellinger and Severin Freund. Austria took silver and Japan won the bronze.
The United States finished 10th in the 12-nation event. Lebanon’s Nick Alexander produced the best result among the four American jumpers, soaring 126.5 meters and scoring 114.4 points.
Megan Bozek and Brianna Decker each had a goal and two assists to help the United States beat Sweden 6-1. The U.S. has medaled in every Winter Games since women’s hockey was added in 1998. Canada, the three-time defending gold medalist, beat Switzerland 3-1 to advance to the final for the fifth consecutive Olympics.
Belarus’ Darya Domracheva won the pursuit and individual biathlon races last week. She took the lead for the first time after four minutes and stayed ahead of the field after the first shooting. Gabriela Soukalova of the Czech Republic took silver and Tiril Eckhoff of Norway bronze. Dartmouth graduate Susan Dunklee was the sole American in the field, finishing about a minute and a half back in 12th place.
Anton Kushnir nailed a near-perfect landing after a “back double full-full-double full” jump — five twists packed into three head-over-heels flips while soaring 50 feet off the ramp and into the night sky, delivering a gold medal to Belarus. Alexei Grishin won the country’s first-ever gold medal in Vancouver four years ago — also in the men’s aerials. Afterwards, he got his picture on a stamp back home. On Monday, he failed to qualify in the aerials. Belarus now has five golds in Sochi. Australia’s David Morris finished 24 points behind Kushnir to win silver; China’s Jia Zongyang took the bronze.
China beat Britain 6-5 to qualify for the Olympic semifinals in men’s curling. The loss forced Britain into a tiebreaker against Norway on Tuesday for the final spot in the playoffs. Canada and Sweden advanced on Sunday. In the women’s tournament, Switzerland and Britain advanced to the semifinals, joining Canada and Sweden. Canada is the first women’s curling team to go through the round-robin matches without a loss.