Steve Holcomb

Steve Holcomb stays perfect with 2-man bobsled win

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Make it five for five for Steve Holcomb.

The Olympic champion U.S. driver has started the World Cup season by winning the first five races, taking a two-man event in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Holcomb and push athlete Steve Langton dominated in a two-run time of 1 minute, 50.62 seconds, and by a comfortable margin of .63 of a second. Second through eighth place was separated by .61.

“[It was] snowing, we had to put down a really good first time, and I think we had a great trip, great push that put us in a good lead [.53 of a second],” said Holcomb, who wore his customary blue Superman shirt under his uniform. “It gave me the opportunity to kind of relax a little bit the second run. I made a few mistakes but kept us in the lead.

“It’s been a good day. It’s been a good year so far. Just have got to keep the momentum going.”

Could Langton tell if Holcomb made any mistakes?

“It’s Holcomb,” he said. “He doesn’t really make mistakes.”

Americans Nick Cunningham and Dallas Robinson took third, .01 of a second behind Swiss Beat Hefti.

“It hurts,” Cunningham said of the slim margin. “But just being in contention with some of the best in the world was unbelievable.”

The final U.S. sled, with Cory Butner and Chuck Berkeley, was fourth.

Holcomb also won the first three two-man events last season and won one more medal (bronze) over the final six two-man World Cup races in Europe.

He hasn’t won a two- or four-man World Cup race in Europe in nearly four years.

Holcomb continued his success at Lake Placid, where he swept the two- and four-man World Championships in 2012.

The Lake Placid World Cup continues with another two-man race Saturday morning. Universal Sports will have coverage.

Lake Placid Two-Man Race 1
1. Steve Holcomb/Steve Langton (USA) 1:50.62
2. Beat Hefti/Alex Baumann (SUI) 1:51.25
3. Nick Cunningham/Dallas Robinson (USA) 1:51.26
4. Cory Butner/Chuck Berkeley (USA) 1:51.43

Sochi will have enough snow for Olympics, Russian weatherman says

Chinese swimmer Sun Yang gets rare open hearing in doping case

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said Monday it will hear the World Anti-Doping Agency’s case against three-time Olympic gold medalist Sun Yang on Nov. 15 in front of reporters — possibly even live-streamed — at the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace in Montreux, Switzerland.

The hearing won’t be completely open. Registration will be required, and photographers and videographers “will be invited to leave the hearing room after the opening,” CAS said in a statement. But those outside the room may still get a glimpse of the proceedings.

“With the agreement of all parties, it is intended to live stream all or parts of the hearing on the CAS website,” CAS said.

CAS noted that it has only held one prior hearing that wasn’t in a private setting — the 1999 case involving Irish swimmer Michelle Smith de Bruin, who won three gold medals in the 1996 Olympics but was banned for four years for tampering with a urine sample, a case that still prompts soul-searching in the Irish media. De Bruin lost the appeal.

Sun is accused of smashing a vial of blood at a drug test last fall. FINA allowed him to continue to compete, but the WADA has appealed, seeking a substantial suspension.

The Chinese swimmer won two gold medals at the world championships this summer and snubbed by some rivals at each medal ceremony, leading to a confrontation with British swimmer Duncan Scott.

RECAP AND VIDEO: Sun taunts Scott after medal ceremony

Sun has won 11 world individual titles in several freestyle distances but also has a long history of controversies ranging from a prior positive drug test and confrontations with other swimmers.

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U.S. women’s volleyball team ends year with surprise loss to Dominican Republic

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The Dominican Republic surprised the U.S. women’s volleyball team in the final of the NORCECA (North, Central America and Caribbean) women’s continental championship Sunday in San Juan, Puerto Rico, winning the first two sets and regrouping after a U.S. rally to win the fifth set.

The final score of the back-and-forth match: 25-19, 25-23, 15-25, 20-25, 15-9. The U.S. women had defeated the Dominican Republic in three previous finals: 2011, 2013 and 2015. The Dominican Republic won a semifinal matchup on its way to the 2009 title.

In group play, the U.S. team had beaten the Dominican Republic in straight sets. The U.S. also breezed past Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico in group play and swept past Canada in the semifinals.

The loss doesn’t affect Olympic qualification. The U.S. women had already qualified for the 2020 Olympics by winning a qualification tournament in August in Bossier City, La.

MORE: U.S. women rally to qualify

Semifinalists Canada and Puerto Rico qualified for a last-chance Olympic qualifier that the Dominican Republic will host in January. Mexico defeated Cuba in the NORCECA fifth-place game to be the last of the four teams vying for one spot.

The Dominican Republic has had some success in women’s volleyball, finishing fifth in the 2014 world championships and reaching the 2012 Olympic quarterfinals before falling to the U.S. The team also won this year’s Pan Am Games, to which the U.S. did not send its top players. Currently, the team is ranked 10th in the world.

Earlier this year, the U.S. women had defeated the Dominican Republic in two tournament finals — the Pan American Cup and the NORCECA Champions Cup. The U.S. also won a matchup in the World Cup last month, but the Dominican Republic won another five-set match in the Nations League preliminary round in Italy.

The U.S. finishes the year with a 44-7 record in tournament play, including a first-place finish in the Nations League and second place in the World Cup.

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