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Olympics / Sports

US ends drought, wins bronze medal in two-man bobsled

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia -- Drought-buster Steven Holcomb has done it again.

The Utah driver earned America's first medal in two-man bobsled in 62 years by winning a bronze Monday night at the Sanki Sliding Center. He hit the milestone four years after ending another 62-year drought in the four-man competition at the Vancouver Games.

But this time America's top pilot almost withdrew because of a calf injury suffered in the second of four heats Sunday night.

"It was pretty dismal wondering if he could go today," U.S. coach Brian Shimer said.

Holcomb and USA-1 brakeman Steven Longton of Melrose, Mass., barely held off Russia-2 to earn America's first medal in the event since Stan Benham and Pat Martin won a silver medallion at the 1952 Oslo Games.

Their time of 3 minutes 46.27 seconds was .88 of a second behind gold-medal winner Alexander Zubkov of Russia. Switzerland-1 got the silver medal.

Holcomb, 33, debated whether to compete during lunch Monday to save his body for the four-man competition this weekend. He decided to let Langton do most of the pushing off the start.

"I told him he had to drive perfect," Shimer said.

Holcomb injured his left calf stepping into the sled Sunday night. He had it taped during his two runs Monday.

Shimer expects the driver to recover in time to defend his four-man gold medal.

Cory Butner finished 12th and Nick Cunningham was 13th in their Olympic debuts as drivers. Cunningham gave Holcomb a bear hug as he exited the sled after the medal was secured.

"If I couldn't win I wanted one of my teammates to," he said.

(c)2014 San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services


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