Holcomb goes for gold at bobsled worlds

JOHN KEKIS AP Sports Writer Published:

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) -- American Steven Holcomb has a slim lead midway through the four-man race at the bobsled world championships.

Holcomb, who won the two-man last week, had a two-run time of 1 minute, 48.92 seconds on Saturday and led Maximilian Arndt of Germany by 0.01 seconds at snowy, windswept Mount Van Hoevenberg.

Arndt, who finished second in World Cup to Alexsandr Zubkov of Russia, led Holcomb by 0.15 after the first run. Holcomb and his crew of Justin Olsen, Steve Langton and brakeman Curt Tomasevicz made up the deficit with the help of their second straight 4.97-second start, the best starts of the day.

Defending world champion Manuel Machata of Germany was third, 0.28 behind Holcomb, and Zubkov was fourth.

American John Napier was disqualified after push athlete Adam Clark slipped and fell out of USA-2 at the start. U.S. rookie Nick Cunningham and his crew of Jesse Beckom, Johnny Quinn and Dallas Robinson were in 14th in USA-3, 1.64 seconds behind Holcomb.

After the first heat, it essentially became a race between the top four sleds. Arndt held that slim lead over Holcomb, and Zubkov and Machata were tied for third, only another 0.04 behind. Edwin Van Calker of the Netherlands was next closest in fifth, and he trailed Arndt by 0.41, an imposing deficit in a sliding sport.

Lyndon Rush, who finished second to Holcomb in two-man, was 11th. Like most of the teams, Rush struggled at the top of the 19-turn layout, going late into the second turn and never managing to regain his line.

Teammate Justin Kripps fared even worse despite a terrific start that left him only 0.03 behind Arndt at the top. Kripps finished the run in Canada-2 just over a second behind in 15th place, but it didn't much matter. He was disqualified for being overweight.

Just like he did in the two-man competition, Holcomb was dissatisfied with his opening run on Saturday and went quickly to social media between heats, tweeting: "Well, it wasn't my cleanest run. Gonna clean it up and hunt down the Germans."

Holcomb then had a 54.58-second run, the fastest of the heat.

The tricky track also took Oskars Melbardis of Latvia out of the medal hunt. Melbardis, who finished fifth in World Cup and was sixth after the first heat, flipped near the bottom in the second and crossed the finish line in 56.29 seconds to fall to 17th, nearly 2 seconds behind.