Gold rush: Steve Holcomb barrels US bobsled to top of podium
Pilot Steve Holcomb and his US bobsled crew dominated a tough field at the Vancouver Olympics to win gold for the first time since 1948 – and the accolades of the sport's most decorated athlete, Germany's Andre Lange.
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“When you hear everybody screaming and yelling, it’s hard to hear if they’re cheering for you or because you got beat by Germany,” said Holcomb, whose other crew members include Steve Mesler and Justin Olsen. “As soon as I saw my team was holding up the No. 1, it was a huge moment.”Skip to next paragraph
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How Holcomb got his 'super genius'
Holcomb is almost universally acknowledged as a rare breed when it comes to driving.
“He just has a feel that very few people in the world, if any, have,” said Tomasevicz, Holcomb's longtime brakeman. German crewman Kuske called his skills “super genius.”
So where did Holcomb, a computer whiz and video game aficionado, get it from?
“A lot of it comes from my ski racing background,” said Holcomb, who switched to bobsled in 1998 and became a driver four years later. “You have an ideal line going down the hill, but it’s very rare that you’re actually on that line. You learn to anticipate and correct before the problem has started.”
“We’ve been strategic about learning as much as we can about this track from a technological standpoint,” said Darrin Steele, CEO of the US Bobsled and Skeleton Federation and a two-time Olympian. “We knew [Steve] was capable – but so was Lange, [Canada’s Lyndon] Rush, [Russia’s Alexsandr] Zubkov. There are some unbelievable teams out there.”
Holcomb also credited Lange for helping him improve.
“He’s been a great competitor,” said Holcomb. “He’s definitely pushed my game to a new level.”
Lange, whose win in the two-man bobsled here at the Vancouver Olympics made him the only athlete in the history of his sport to win four Olympic gold medals, took the final run of his career Saturday.
“When I stepped out of the sled today, I had to take a deep breath and tears came to my eyes. It feels like a huge burden has been lifted,” said Lange, who exited the sport with pride – and praise for Holcomb’s crew. “They certainly are great and worthy winners, and we will cherish our silver medal.”