Sat, Nov 11, 2017 - Page 16 News List

US win three medals in World Cup bobsled

AP, LAKE PLACID, New York

Germany’s Nico Walther on Thursday rounds a curve at the World Cup bobsled race in Lake Placid, New York.

Photo: AP

Some of Steven Holcomb’s ashes are scattered at Mount Van Hoevenberg in New York, the track where the longtime US bobsled driver dominated like no other for about the last two decades. His initials are on the speedsuits that his teammates will wear this season. His words still echo in their heads.

For the first time in nearly two decades, the US raced in a World Cup bobsled competition without Holcomb — the three-time Olympic medalist — on the roster.

They took three of the six available medals on Thursday, a silver in women’s bobsled from the pairing of Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs, silver in two-man from Nick Cunningham and Ryan Bailey, and bronze from Codie Bascue and Carlo Valdes.

“We miss him every day,” said brake operator Steven Langton, who returned to the sport a year ago with hopes of racing with Holcomb this season and was sixth with driver Justin Olsen in his first World Cup since 2014. “I miss him every day. We’re going to do the best job we can to honor him throughout the season.”

Holcomb died unexpectedly in his sleep in May at his dorm room inside the Olympic Training Center, where USA Bobsled and Skeleton has its offices and where many sliders live, lift and sleep when they are in Lake Placid.

Holcomb won the two-man World Cup gold at Lake Placid a year ago, and Cunningham nearly followed suit on Thursday.

He had to settle for second, one spot behind the German team of Nico Walther and Christian Poser.

Walther and Poser, the husband of US women’s bobsled pilot Jamie Greubel Poser, finished two runs in 1 minute, 51.92 seconds.

Cunningham and Bailey — a US Olympian in track at the London Games — finished in 1 minute, 52.03 seconds.

“I needed this to, I don’t want to say resurrect my career, but last year was so hard mentally, emotionally,” said Cunningham, who matched his best World Cup finish after spending some of last season racing in the lesser international tiers. “I regained the love of the sport.”

Bascue got on a World Cup podium for the first time.

“Amazing feeling,” Bascue said. “A little bit of an emotional race, my first race without Holcy, but I took that and kind of used the emotion and it’s nice to be on the podium for the first time.”

It was far from a first podium trip for Kaillie Humphries, who went to bobsled school in Lake Placid and clearly paid attention in class.

The two-time reigning Olympic champion from Canada got her season off to a winning start, teaming with Melissa Lotholz to win gold at Mount Van Hoevenberg in the World Cup women’s bobsled season-opener.

It was the fourth time Humphries won in Lake Placid, where she drove a bobsled for the first time in 2006.

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