EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 18, 2014

Americans snap bobsled drought

(Continued)

“Best driver in the world,” Langton said, pointing across a room toward Holcomb. “The best. That guy.”

Zubkov had the home-ice edge. Hefti has long been one of the best two-man drivers. And for quite some time, Holcomb has been fighting to dispel the notion that he’s only truly elite when racing on the North American tracks he knows best.

He debunked that theory Monday. An Olympics, in Russia, in conditions in which he’s never trained, facing a 62-year drought — and he delivered.

“Holcy’s the man,” USA-2 pilot Cory Butner said, “and he proved it again.”

Germany, which had won the last three gold medals in two-man, had its top sled finish eighth in the worst showing for the sliding power in the event since 1956.

Holcomb and Langton gave the U.S. its fourth sliding medal so far at the Sochi Games, a total that beats the three the Americans combined to win in Turin in 2006 and Vancouver in 2010. With women’s bobsled and four-man bobsled still to run, and the Americans expected to vie for golds in both, the U.S. has to be thinking their total will grow before the Sochi cauldron is extinguished.

“What Holcomb has done is unbelievable for the sport,” USA-3 pilot Nick Cunningham said. “He’s put USA Bobsled on the international map.”

And on the Olympic medal stand. Again.

“It means a lot,” Holcomb said. “I have an Olympic gold in four-man, world championship in four-man, world championship in two-man. The one elusive medal was this one. We wanted gold, it didn’t happen ... but I’m happy. Gold, silver, bronze, going home Olympic medalists. That was our goal. I’m losing my mind right now. This is amazing.”

Ice dance gold for U.S.

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