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.


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 21, 2010 7:06 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2010 12:22 pm

Blogging from Vancouver: USA vs. Canada

By Ina Fried

Editor's Note: Ina has been in Vancouver all week covering the Olympics for CBSSports.com and CNET.com, but tonight she takes on the ultimate task of watching the USA vs. Canada men's hockey match live at the Molson Canadian Hockey House. She will send updates throughout the night:

10 p.m. ET --  The U.S. wins as heads shake and burrows frow at Molson Canadian Hockey House. Also staying upbeat was Roundsky. "The game will go on," she said. "It's a cloud with a golden lining." The host tried to put a good spin on things too. "That's why we have beer," he said, adding, "I still believe. It's a long road, but we'll just have to walk a long road."

9:55 p.m. ET -- And a diving poke into the empty net sticks a knife in the heart of the crowd giving US a 5-3 lead with under 45 seconds left. Ridge, still calm, looks at the bright side. "There's still lots more hockey to be played before the gold medal," Ridge says. With the win, the U.S. will get a bye in the next round but Canada is not out. USA 5, CANADA 3

9:52 p.m. ET -- One of the calmest people is the man behind me, Peter Ridge of North Vancouver. He watches calmly as everyone else screams with every pass. "Lots of time left," he says with 3 mins remaining. "I just enjoy the game." Flurry of chances have everyone other than Ridge screaming, but Miller keeps the puck out of the net.

9:49 p.m. ET -- The Molson crowd gets new life as Canada puts one in, now down 4-3. The CTV camera goes live to Molson House for a second as the crowd goaes wild. USA 4, CANADA 3

9:48 p.m. ET -- Three great chances in a row but no goal results in a whole bunch of words I can't use in this blog.

9:45 p.m. ET -- Whistles and cheers as the U.S. picks up a tripping penalty with just over five minutes remaining and Canada still down by 2.

9:43 p.m. ET -- As the puck gets knocked into the Canada end yet again, the impatience grows. "Come on boys, get it together," I hear from over my left shoulder.

9:41 p.m. ET -- Crowd impatient as power play draws to a close. "Shoot it," implore several fans, but the U.S. Is back at full strength.

9:38 p.m. ET -- During TV time out they're playing "good ol' hockey game" and crowd sings along. Now "We will rock you" as power play starts.

9:37 p.m. ET -- Crowd recovers a bit and starts "Go Canada Go" cheer. And then erupts as Team USA called for a penalty. Big power play coming up for Canada.

9:33 p.m. ET -- And the U.S. scores again, not clear who if anyone tipped Rafalski's shot but it's 4-2. Looks like it was Langenbruner. Canada nearly gets one back, but Miller comes us big and the faces are getting longer at Molson. USA 4, CANADA 2

9:30 p.m. ET -- Huge boos as another penalty called on Canada and the U.S. returns to the power play. Not quite nervous time at Molson, but clearly the U.S. is giving a better showing than the home crowd would like.

9:27 p.m. ET -- Big cheers and whistles as Canada kills of the power play and even bigger cheers as Crosby has a nice chance, but all for naught.

9:24 p.m. ET -- For the third period in a row US starts with the first flurry. And Crosby picks up a penalty at 1:44 of the third.

9:20 p.m. ET -- Stewart leads crowd in cheer of "Go Canada Go" before wrapping up. On to the third period.

9:10 p.m. ET -- "We may be down but we are outshooting them," said Tyler Stewart, the short bald drummer from the Barenaked Ladies, who is in a side band called the Black Aces. "We fight hard."

9:07 p.m. ET -- Staal picks up a holding penalty, the first of the second period as he takes down Rafalski, though the call was unpopular here after the refs had thus far let both teams play. The second period ends, but the power play will carryover into the final period.

9:04 p.m. ET -- After allowing the third goal on just 15 shots, Brodeur stops two U.S. breakaways getting the Molson crowd back into it.

9:03 p.m. ET -- After some bumping with Brodeur. The U.S. scores, giving the U.S. its third lead of the night and again momentarily quieting the Molson crowd. USA 3, CANADA 2

8:53 p.m. ET -- During a media timeout I talked with fan Heather Roundsky of Lindsay, Ontario who said the game is phenomenal, but said she wasn't worried by early U.S. lead. "The boys have it in 'em" she said. "They'll do it and get the job done." Meanwhile, the crowd applause the introduction of a VIP in attendance Michael Peca from the 2002 Team Canada team which won the gold.

8:47 p.m. ET -- The crowd at Molson is taunting U.S. goalie Ryan Miller. We're only a couple blocks from Canada Hockey Place and it's so loud here it's hard to be sure if he can't hear the crowd.

8:44 p.m. ET -- Not that they ever got too quiet, the crowd at Molson is back into it, stomping and cheering during a hockey-themed commercial.

8:40 p.m. ET -- Canada ties it up on a shot by Heatley and the place goes nuts. USA 2, CANADA 2

8:35 p.m. ET -- Back to live action as the second period gets under way and again the U.S. gets the first chance.

8:32 p.m. ET -- And surprise guest between periods -- Canadian gold medal winning snowboarder Maelle Ricker. They are now playing Ricker's medal ceremony, which naturally provides a good excuse to play Canadian anthem. Crowd sings along as we get ready for the second period of hockey.

8:21 p.m. ET -- Last minute of the first. Canada has a couple more chances and one of their player goes down. All the referees at Molson wanted a penalty, but no call from those on the ice. USA goes to dressing room up 2-1 despite being outshot more than three to one. The host is back out trying to keep the crowd pumped, showing highlights of Canada's gold medal winning efforts at the Games.

8:10 p.m. ET -- Patrick Marleau had a great chance but Ryan Miller stoned him eliciting the expected groans at Molson.

8:07 p.m. ET -- Lots of end-to-end action and some huge hits have this crowd on pins and needles and it's only just over halfway through the first period.

8:02 p.m. ET -- But then just moments later(22 seconds) Team USA responds with a goal of its own, again quieting things as the US goes back on top 2-1. Goal to Rafalski, his second of the game. USA 2, CANADA 1

8:01 p.m. ET -- Several good chances for Team Canada on the power play but none convert. Moments after it expires, Canada scores, prompting enormous cheers. USA 1, CANADA 1

7:56 p.m. ET -- Now, in a much more popular call here, Team Canada is getting its first power play as USA gets called for high sticking. Joe Pavelski did clock Ryan Getzlaf pretty good as the replay shows.

7:54 p.m. ET -- "There's plenty of time," said one Canada fan, Bill Burns. "It was just surprising they would score so early. I didn't expect anyone would score that early."  The first penalty goes against Canada -- Ryan Getzlaf for goalie interference, needless to say an unpopular call here.

7:47 p.m. ET -- And the crowd is even more upset just seconds later as the USA puts the puck in the net taking a 1-0 lead just 41 seconds in. USA 1, CANADA 0

7:46 p.m. ET -- The US gets the first shot, forcing Brodeur to make the first save and momentarily quieting the crowd.

7:45 p.m. ET -- It's just warm-ups and a continuous chant of "Go Canada Go" has begun. As they show team USA, the onstage host says "polite applause, polite applause, that's what we do." The USA is wearing throwback jerseys reminiscent of the ones it wore 30 years ago in its 1980 Miracle On Ice upset of the Soviet Union. Some boos start. "Don't boo the Americans, pity them," the white suit wearing host says. Now the puck drop.

7:35 p.m. ET -- No hockey yet. Still watching speed skating. Final speedskating pair in the women's 1500m. An American, who draws boos and a Canadian. A proxy for the game? Canada ends up with a Silver I think, but can't hear over this crowd. Yep. Kristina Groves takes silver. Now on to the main event. Feet stomp as we go to hockey. Puck drop at 7:40 p.m. ET, we're told. Live feed not on yet.

7:28 p.m. ET -- We're watching Canadian Kristina Groves in the ladies 1500m speedskating final. It may not be hockey, but the Canadian woman is getting some loud cheers as she takes off. She's narrowly in the lead at the first split time. Huge cheers. The lead is bigger still with two laps to go. I can only imagine what the sound will be when game gets going. Deafening roar as she leads in final lap. "Go go go go," cheers the crowd. She slows a bit at the end, moving into second place with one pair to go, still getting cheers.

7:20 p.m. ET -- Look back there, there's one man in a USA jersey," the onstage host says. "Booooooo," roars the crowd "Slay him my minions," the host intones. Since this is the peace-loving nation of Canada people just laugh. Were this contest being held in Detroit, there might be a Canadian body by now. Even still, I worry a little for that guy's safety.

6:52 p.m. ET -- "Today is the day the USA stops winning medals," promised the live host, kicking off the hour-long countdown to the big game. On my way past Canada Hockey Place, site of the game itself, I ran into Matt Antosik of San Francisco, who was hoping against hope to land a ticket to the big game. "Just looking for one," he told passersby. "Not a scalper just a fan." The same technique landed him a free ticket to see Canada take on Norway, but he said he knows the odds are longer this time around. "This game is nearly impossible," he said. Then again, he said, Everyone was making fun of me last time and then it worked."

6:35 p.m. ET -- It's an hour until game time and the atmosphere is already beyond electric as the U.S. Is set to take on Canada in men's hockey. Although just a preliminary match, this game has taken on all the importance of a medal game. Some three hours before game time sporadic chants of "Go, Canada, Go" could be heard downtown. It's barely an exaggeration to say all of Canada will be watching. I'm live from the Molson Canadian Hockey House, a hockey themed pavilion adjacent to where the game is being played. Molson has already sold out with more than 2,000 paying just to see the game on the big screen here.

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