Olympic champion Steve Holcomb won his fifth straight international two-man bobsled race on North American ice, taking the season-opening Calgary World Cup in track-record time on Friday night.
Holcomb and push athlete Steve Langton led after both runs, clocking a two-run total of 1 minute, 49.22 seconds. Swiss Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann were second, .16 of a second behind. Canadians Chris Spring and Jesse Lumsden were third.
The other two U.S. sleds, piloted by Cory Butner and Nick Cunningham, were ninth and 10th.
“It’s an interesting feeling knowing that no one has been faster than us down this track,” Holcomb said, according to the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (USBSF). “It’s pretty cool to have a track record on an established track, and it’s actually my first track record in two-man.”
Holcomb is the reigning Olympic four-man champion but ranked higher in the two-man in last year’s World Cup standings (fourth versus sixth in the four-man).
Holcomb, 33, wore a blue Superman shirt under his black racing suit.
“Langton gave me two great starts,” Holcomb said, according to USBSF. “I think we could have pushed even faster, but I’m getting old and not recovering as quickly from traveling as I used to. I made a few mistakes that added up and I think there’s still some room to go even faster.”
His biggest competition in the two-man going into the Olympics is unclear. Hefti could be it, given he won three of his five World Cup starts last season, including the finale in at the Sochi Olympic track.
The Calgary World Cup stop concludes with two-woman and four-man races on Saturday. Universal Sports will have coverage.
1. Steve Holcomb/Steve Langton (USA) 1:49.22
2. Beat Hefti/Alex Baumann (SUI) 1:49.38
3. Chris Spring/Jesse Lumsden (CAN) 1:49.42
9. Cory Butner/Andreas Drbal (USA) 1:49.81
10. Nick Cunningham/Johnny Quinn (USA) 1:49.85