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Tag:Steven Holcomb
Posted on: February 27, 2010 5:05 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2010 11:46 pm
 

U.S. Bobsled Blog

By Ina Fried

Editor's Note: Ina has been following USA-1 and Steven Holcomb the last few days in their quest to earn a gold medal for the first time in 62 years. Here is her recap:

Steve Holcomb stood proud as he and his four-man bobsled team were honored with the American's first gold medal in 62 years.

Then, for the press, he did his now famous Holcy dance. Unfortunately, CBS doesn't have broadcast rights, so I can't show you that.

In an interview, Holcomb told me that he's done a lot of crazy things in his life, but said "This is a better high than anything." The huge adrenaline rush makes him understand why retiring German sledder Andre Lange stuck with the sport so long. "It's addicting."

Teammate Steve Mesler said hearing the National Anthem after winning gold was an amazing feeling. "It was kind of everything I hoped it would be. His one complaint: "It didn't last long enough."

In the hours after winning gold, Mesler was so excited tweeting and sending messages that his phone battery ran out of juice. "I had to shut it off," he said.

The team is off to the USA House to celebrate with fellow athletes and backers of the U.S. Olympic Team before heading to Vancouver late tonight in order to do the Today show on Sunday morning.

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Though clearly excited at winning a gold medal -- the United States' first bobsled gold in 62 years --Steven Holcomb wasn't quite sure what to say.

"I think I"m supposed to say I'm going to disneyland."

In reality, the avid gamer and computer junkie is far more likely to go home and play xbox than visit Mickey Mouse. As for future plans, Holcomb said he wants to stay with bobsled as long as he can. "I'm a lifer," he told reporters.

Teammate Steve Mesler also said it was impossible to describe the feeling of winning a gold medal.

"This is a moment I have waited for my entire life," Mesler told reporters just after the race.

There was something different in that fourth and final run, though.

"I actually heard the crowd for the first time in years," Mesler said. It's been years since I heard the cowbells in the crowd."

One thing that helped was that, even though the US team was the reigning world champion sled, a lot of the focus was on retiring German star Andre Lange and his team.

"We never really thought of ourselves as the team to beat," he said.

As for the track, Holcomb and Mesler agreed that it was fast and tricky, but Mesler said he has only good things to say about it. "It's my favorite place in the world right now," he said. "That's not to forget the Georgian luger who lost his life here."

Mesler said that to blow off steam last night he and teammate Curt Tomasevicz did play Rock Band. "I was on guitar and mike; Curt was on drums."

Coach Brian Shimer, himself a bronze medalist, fought back tears as he praised Holcomb. Shimer noted that it took him five olympics to win a bronze, while Holcomb claimed gold in only his second Winter Games.

"He kind of followed in my footsteps, but he passed me up."

Mesler said the reality might kick in by the time the actual medals arew handed out. That is scheduled for a ceremony at 11 p.m. ET in Whistler.

Below is a live account of the final two runs by team USA:

7:17 p.m. ET -- There were a lot of choked-up people in the US bobsled program as Holcomb and team crossed the finish line. "There's obviosly a lot emotion" said Darren Steele CEO of US Bobsled and skeleton federation. Steele said that things stayed pretty quiet over the last couple days. "We don't celebrate until the final run, until the sled crosses the finish line," Steele said. "This is a great day for the US and our program."

7:03 p.m. ET -- Lange's german teammates have entered the media zone wearing T-Shirts that say "Thank you Andre for all the famous moments." Although he took home Silver, lange has been an Olympic force having won the two-man here and previously winning the two-man and four-man at the same Olympics. "Andre you are a legend," screamed one fan.

7:01 p.m. ET -- Crowd, cheering the Canadian performance has broken out in a wild, if only partly on-key performance of "O Canada"

6:35 p.m. ET -- Holcomb has won the gold ending the 62-year gold drought -- 3:24.46. Germany silver, Canada bronze

6:32 p.m. ET -- Canada was one one-hundredth of second slower than germany so lange is time to beat. 3:24.84 is what holcomb needs for gold. Huge cheers as he takes the track too.

6:30 p.m. ET -- Lange total time 3:24.84 for the four runs. Canada-1 up now, was in 2nd. Huge cheers for the home sled. Can-a-da. Can-a-da cheers the crowd before the run begins.

6:27 p.m. ET -- Three sledders to go; germany's Lange on track. This is it!

5:26 p.m. ET -- So after three runs, here are the official standings:

Holcomb and USA-1 are in first with a total time of 2:32.94.

In second is Lyndon Rush and Canada-1, with a time of 2:33.39, that's .45 of a second back. In third is Germany-1, piloted by Andre Lange a further .09 seconds back, at 2:33.48.

Fellow countryman Thomas Florschuetz has Germany-2 in fourth place, with a time of 2:33.95, while Canada-2 is in fifth place with a time of 2:33.95

Starting the fourth run will be Croatia 1, followed by Korea-1 and Great Britain-1, all more than five seconds back of the leader

6:30 p.m. ET -- Lange total time 3:24.84 for the four runs. Canada-1 up now, was in 2nd. Huge cheers for the home sled. Can-a-da
Can-a-da cheers the crowd before the run begins.


6:27 p.m. ET -- Three sledders to go; germany's Lange on track. This is it!

5:20 p.m. ET -- There have actually been zero crashes today after six on Friday.

4:57 p.m. ET -- After 3 of 4 runs USA-1 bobsled pilotted by Steve Holcomb still in 1st, followed by Canada and Germany. The track is a bit slower today with the sun peeking through. That's meant somewhat lower top speeds! But also a whole lot fewer crashes. Interesting note, in addition to sweeping the snow at the start after each run, today they are also pulling down what look like giant window shades to keep the track ice temperature as consistent as possible.

4:15 p.m. ET -- The second-place sled of Canada is just slower than Night Train with a 3rd run of 51:24. Holcomb's clean run means he is likely to be in the lead as he enters fourth and final run.

4:04 p.m. ET: As the race leaders, Holcomb and the Night Train sled are up first. They set the pace with a time of 51.19 seconds. Up next is Canada, which finished Friday in second.

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog " Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried

Posted on: February 26, 2010 8:11 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2010 8:31 pm
 

Holcomb has team if first after two runs

By Ina Fried

Proving that he has the rare combination of athletic prowess and computer know-how, USA-1 bobsled pilot Steven Holcomb put the four-man bobsled team in strong position to win gold in Vancouver, which would end a 62-year-gold medal drought in the sport.

After two of four runs, Holcomb's Night Train team leads by four-tenths of a second over Canada 1 and 0.44 seconds over bobsled legend Andre Lange, who is trying to be the first man to twice win the two-man and four-man events at the same Olympics.

Holcomb, who is a computer science major and Microsoft Certified Professional, has the U.S. two runs away from ending a 62-year gold medal drought in bobsled.

After the race, Holcomb said he was pleased. "It takes a little bit of pressure of tomorrow," he told reporters. But, he quickly added that he planned to go back to the tape to try to find a few more things to adjust. "We can still make some improvements," he said.

Team member Steve Mesler said he was surprised the track stayed so fast as wet snow fell throughout Friday's runs. For his part, he just wants tomorrow to be a repeat of today. "We don't need to improve anything; we don't need to change anything," he told me. "We just need to do the same thing."

As for the team's plans for tonight, several said they planned to play a little Rock Band, while Mesler said he would also catch up on Facebook and e-mail and "eat a lot."

Mesler and Holcomb both said they were aware of the several crashes from other teams, but said they just focused on the job at hand.

"There's TVs all over the start house," Holcomb said. "You can't let it get to you."

Mesler concurred.

"It is what it is," Mesler said. "It is a sport. It doesn't phase you."

The final two runs will take place at Whistler Sliding Center on Saturday and I'll be here again to cover it live.

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog " Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried

Posted on: February 26, 2010 9:18 am
 

Computer geek Holcomb looking for gold

It's been 62 years since the United States claimed a gold medal in bobsled.

And this year, our best hope is piloted by a computer geek, who who trains by playing video games.

So our chances are pretty good. That's because, in addition to being a Microsoft Certified Professional and admitted PC nerd, Stephen Holcomb is also the reigning world champion in the four-man bobsled.

Plus, he's got this crazy "Holcy dance" that one just has to see to believe.



Holcomb hopes to dance his way on to the medal podium by the time competition wraps up on Saturday. The first two runs are scheduled for Friday afternoon, with the final two slated for Saturday.

Standing in Holcomb's way is one of the most decorated bobsledders of all time German Andre Lange. Lange, who won the two-man event earlier this week, is looking to become the first bobsled pilot to twice accomplish the feat of winning the two-man and four-man races at the same Olympics.

Holcomb told reporters on Wednesday that he likes competing against Lange.

"I like racing against him," Holcomb told reporters. "It's a good rivalry. Competition breeds excellence."

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog " Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried

Posted on: February 17, 2010 7:35 am
Edited on: February 17, 2010 5:02 pm
 

Holcomb ready to tackle another challenge

By Ina Fried

As the reigning world champion, U.S. bobsled driver Steven Holcomb knows that he has little room for error here in Vancouver.

"It’s not easy being at the top," Holcomb said. "We have a big target on our back. Everybody expects great things from us."

And then there’s that super-fast track at Whistler Sliding Center, which resulted in a fatal crash for Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. Holcomb says it is the fastest one he’s ever seen, but says he’ll be ready when the bobsled competition kicks off later this week.

"It’s a tough track," he said. "it takes a lot of experience and there is no way to train for it. The only way to train is to go down the track."

Holcomb said Monday that he had only had about 40 training runs on the Whistler course. And although the Canadian teams have had more, Holcomb said that he and his Night Train team are in the same boat as the other four-man sleds.

Although plenty of experienced drivers have crashed, Holcomb said that it shouldn’t be a safety issue for bobsled.

"It’s not that the track’s not safe," he said. "It’s just fast and difficult."

But Holcomb knows about difficulty, having had to overcome a lot of adversity to get where he is, including battling a degenerative eye disease. The disease, known as keratoconus, was discovered only after Holcomb had a Lasik surgery around 2000 that actually accelerated his vision problems.

"It just kept getting worse," he said.

By 2006, when he competed at the Winter Games in Torino, his uncorrected vision in one eye was probably only 20-200 or 20-300.

Holcomb said his teammates new he had bad vision, and even teased him for being a driver with poor eyesight, but probably didn’t know the extent of it. "I kept a lot of stuff really quiet," he said. "I think I did a pretty good job of playing it off."

But by July 2007, contacts could no longer correct his vision and he was considering retirement. He just couldn’t take a risk, he said. "If I hurt somebody, I couldn’t live with myself."

It seemed like the only option was a dual cornea transplant, which would have required two years of recovery time and even them would leave his eyes vulnerable in a crash. Eventually, though he found a doctor in Beverly Hills willing to try a new type of surgery. After two surgeries—the first in late December 2007 and the second in March 2008, Holcomb had a sensation he hadn’t had in a long time—clear vision.

A year later, he was a world champion.

But getting his vision back actually made things tough for a while. "It was such a dramatic change," he said. "I learned to drive by feeling. It caused a lot of problems."

While he has gotten used to all that visual stimulation, Holcomb said he still prefers to keep the shield on his helmet a little dirty and scratched up.

Holcomb also has another way of adjusting to all that stimulation -- playing video games. Holcomb says first person shooter games help him handle all that visual stimulation.

"When you are playing Halo for the first time you are miserable because you can't do anything, there is so much going on. Everybody is killing you from all over the place," he said. "After three four days of playing, things start to slow down, you start to process the information faster. it really helps develop that sense of being able to process information faster."

For more on Holcomb’s geekier side, check out my companion piece at CNETNews.com.

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog " Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com