Soldiers thrive at Bobsled World Championships
February 21, 2012
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Feb. 21, 2012) -- Former and current Soldiers in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, or WCAP, won medals at the Federation Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing, or FIBT, Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championships at Lake Placid, N.Y., Feb. 18-19.
Former WCAP bobsledder Steven Holcomb of Park City, Utah, teamed with Steve Langton of Melrose, Mass., to win the two-man bobsled world crown with a four-run cumulative time of 3 minutes, 42.88 seconds.
The Canadian duo of Lyndon Rush and Jessee Lumsden (3:43:34) settled for silver and Germany's Maximilian Arndt and Kevin Kuske (3:43:43) took the bronze.
The victory marked the first time Team USA has won the two-man title at the World Championships.
"It feels phenomenal to be world champion," said Holcomb, who spent nearly eight years in WCAP before driving Team USA to a four-man world title in 2009 at Lake Placid. "It is going to take awhile to sink in. I am just really proud of my team."
Team USA coach, Brian Shimer, reveled in the historic moment.
"I can't say enough about Holcomb, he is just unbelievable," Shimer said. "He is such a talented pilot. Anything you throw at him he just seems to get down the hill quickly. This is just a really great moment for USA Bobsled; a little more history being made."
WCAP Soldiers, Sgt. John Napier of Lake Placid and Capt. Chris Fogt of Alpine, Utah, who deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq respectively since competing at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia, finished sixth in the two-man competition with a time of 3:44:12.
"We came into this race thinking that if we push really well maybe we can make it into eighth place," Napier said. "We are really happy and pleased with a sixth-place finish. We made some mistakes on the first three runs and on the fourth we just came together and gave it everything we had. We're just ecstatic."
Napier and Fogt finished 10th aboard Team USA II in the two-man event at the 2010 Olympic Games.
"We were just talking about how we have the whole Army behind us," Fogt said. "As two military athletes, we are really supported by the Army and think of ourselves as representing the USA and those guys. We don't want to let them down."
A relative newcomer to WCAP, Sgt. Dallas Robinson of Georgetown, Ky., teamed with Nick Cunningham of Monterey, Calif., to finish ninth in the two-man event.
The Soldiers, however, were not finished sliding for medals.
In the team event, athletes in men's and women's skeleton and men's and women's two-man bobsled each make one run and the four times are combined for the nation's cumulative time.
Matt Antoine of Prairie du Chien, Wis., and Katie Uhlaender of Breckenridge, Colo., represented Team USA in skeleton. After Elana Meyers of Douglasville, Ga., and Emily Azevedo of Chico, Calif., took the U.S. two-man women's sled down the hill, Holcomb combined with WCAP brakeman Justin Olsen of San Antonio to secure the gold medal in the final heat for Team USA with a winning margin of .73 seconds over Germany.
"Two world championships in one day is pretty neat," Holcomb said. "Competing in the team event is always fun, so it's really awesome to be up here with my teammates."
Robinson also competed with the second U.S. squad, which finished fourth in the team event.