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Holcomb's USA land bobsleigh gold after 62 years

February 28, 2010

Steven Holcomb's USA 1 won the United States' first Olympic bobsleigh gold in 62 years on Saturday after their 'Night Train' sleigh bulleted past the field on the Whistler track.

Holcomb, who last year became the first American in half a century to win a world title, came to these Games just two years on from sight-saving surgery for a degenerative eye disorder, won in a combined four-heat time of 3min 24.46sec.

Andre Lange's Germany 1 took silver in 3min 24.84sec for a comfortable American winning margin of 0.38sec as the Germans denied Lyndon Rush's bronze medallists Canada 1 by just 0.01sec.

With Holcomb and his crew of Justin Olsen, Steve Mesler and Curtis Tomasevicz dominating the two days of competition, two-man champion Lange missed a record third straight title in his final race as he lost out on a fifth Olympic career gold.

Saturday's drizzly conditions ensured the track was slower that Friday, which saw six crashes, adding to more than a dozen previously in the men's and women's events.

Four teams did not start while five had already withdrawn before the opening heats as the difficulty and sheer speed of the track took a heavy toll.

Holcomb and company had underpinned their quest with a track record second effort of 50.86sec to hold pole position by 0.4sec over Canada 1.

Profile: Shining eyes on Holcomb's golden Night Train

They added another 0.005sec to their overnight margin in heat three, by which time it was effectively all over for Lange and the Canadians.

Lange at least had the satisfaction of the fastest final heat time of 51.36sec, but the margin held for the American quartet who celebrated at the finish, waving their helmets in the air and grabbing a huge stars and stripes flag.

The quartet then embraced and exchanged warm handshakes with their fellow podium finishers.

'Smokin' Francis Tyler won the last US bob medal in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in 1948.

But Holcomb has shown great consistency on the way to laying to rest those six-decade old ghosts and deserved the crown after he negotiated the tough, icy conditions Friday, which prompted Lange teammate Kein Kuske to say he had produced runs of "super genius".

Many of the teams struggled with one crash on average for every four bobs on Friday on a track which witnessed the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in pre-tournament training.

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