Holcomb, Langton earn bronze, first U.S. medal in two-man bobsled since ’52

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For the first time in over 60 years, the Americans have come away with a two-man bobsled medal at the Winter Olympics.

Driver Steven Holcomb and brakeman Steven Langton entered today’s final two runs at Sanki Sliding Center in third position aboard USA-1, and they were able to hang on to that spot and claim the bronze medal.

Stanley Benham and Patrick Martin had won the last two-man medal for Team USA at the 1952 Winter Games in Oslo.

Going into the fourth and final run, Holcomb and Langton were .09 of a second up on Canada’s third sled (Justin Kripps/Bryan Barnett) for the bronze.

VIDEO: Watch Team USA’s bronze-medal run

The reigning four-man Olympic champion and the former Northeastern University sprinter then threw down a 56.68-second final run to officially ensure their place on the podium.

Making the accomplishment more rewarding for Holcomb is that he did it on a strained left calf muscle. The injury occurred right at the start of yesterday’s second run, and it required treatment from team doctors overnight and into the morning.

“I let my horse here take over,” Holcomb said in a team release in reference to Langton. “We pushed harder than I expected, and going into that last heat, we knew we had to bring everything we had if we wanted to bring home a medal. There was a lot of pressure going into this.”

Russia’s top sled that features Aleksandr Zubkov and Alexei Voyevoda – a five-time World Cup champion in four-man and a world arm wrestling champion, respectively – won the gold by .66 of a second across four runs over the Swiss’ top sled (Beat Hefti/Alex Baumann).

It marks the fifth gold for Russia so far in Sochi.

MORE: Allergies, fatigue take Svindal out of Sochi Olympics

MEN’S BOBSLED – TWO-MAN FINAL STANDINGS
Aggregate time across four runs

1. Russia-1 (Zubkov/Voyevoda), 3:45.39
2. Switzerland-1 (Hefti/Baumann), 3:46.05
3. USA-1 (Holcomb/Langton), 3:46.27

12. USA-2 (Cory Butner/Christopher Fogt), 3:47.19
13. USA-3 (Nick Cunningham/Dallas Robinson), 3:47.69

Mark McMorris breaks Winter X Games medals record with slopestyle gold

Mark McMorris
Getty
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Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris broke his tie with American Jamie Anderson for the most Winter X Games medals across all sites, earning his 22nd medal, a slopestyle gold, in Aspen, Colorado.

On the final run of Sunday’s contest, McMorris overtook Norway’s Marcus Kleveland with back-to-back 1620s on the last two jumps. McMorris’ last three Aspen slopestyle titles were all won on his final run (2019, 2022).

“It’s something I never thought would ever come to me as a kid from Saskatchewan,” McMorris, 29, said on the broadcast. “Everything’s just been a bonus since I became a pro snowboarder.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression of their best run over the course of a jam session rather than scoring individual runs.

McMorris won his record-extending seventh X Games Aspen men’s slopestyle title, one day after finishing fourth in big air.

“It just keeps getting crazier because I keep getting older,” he said. “People just keep pushing the limits, pushing the limits. Last night was such a downer, almost bums me out, like, dude, do I still have it? … To have one of those miracle wins where you do it on the last run and someone makes you push yourself, those are the best feelings.”

McMorris won slopestyle bronze medals at each of the last three Olympics and reportedly said last February that he was planning to compete through the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games.

Canadian Max Parrot, the 2022 Olympic slopestyle champion, is taking this season off from competition.

Anderson, a two-time Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion, is expecting her first child.

Later Sunday, U.S. Olympian Mac Forehand won men’s ski big air with a 2160 on his last run, according to commentators. It scored a perfect 50. Olympic gold medalist Birk Ruud of Norway followed with a triple cork 2160 of his own, according to commentators, and finished third.

Canadian skier Megan Oldham added slopestyle gold to her big air title from Friday, relegating Olympic champion Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland to silver.

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Ilia Malinin wins U.S. Figure Skating Championships despite quadruple Axel miss

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One year ago, Ilia Malinin came to the U.S. Championships as, largely, a 17-year-old unknown. He finished second to Nathan Chen in 2022 and was left off the three-man Olympic team due to his inexperience, a committee decision that lit a fire in him.

After the biggest year of change in U.S. figure skating in three decades, Malinin came to this week’s nationals in San Jose, California, as the headliner across all disciplines.

Though he fell on his quadruple Axel and doubled two other planned quads in Sunday’s free skate (the most ambitious program in history), he succeeded the absent Chen as national champion.

Malinin, the world’s second-ranked male singles skater, still landed two clean quads in Friday’s short program and three more Sunday. He totaled 287.74 points and prevailed by 10.43 over two-time Olympian Jason Brown, a bridge between the Chen and Malinin eras.

“I think I was just not ready to deliver at that day,” Malinin, who was bidding to become the second man to land six quads in one program after Chen, said on NBC. “I was really so confident, I think I sort of overthought everything and tried to get ahead of myself. But I think it’s all right.”

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Results

Brown, a 28-year-old competing for the first time since placing sixth at the Olympics, became the oldest male singles skater to finish in the top three at nationals since Jeremy Abbott won the last of his four titles in 2014. As usual, he didn’t attempt a quad but had the highest artistic score by 9.41 points.

Brown’s seven total top-three finishes at nationals tie him with Chen, Michael WeissBrian Boitano, David Jenkins and Dick Button for the second-most in men’s singles since World War II, trailing only Todd Eldredge‘s and Hayes Jenkins‘ eight.

“I’m not saying it’s super old, but I can’t train the way I used to,” Brown said after Friday’s short program. “What Ilia is doing and the way he is pushing the sport is outstanding and incredible to watch. I cannot keep up.”

Andrew Torgashev took bronze, winning the free skate with one quad and all clean jumps. Torgashev, who competed at nationals for the first time since placing fifth in 2020 at age 18, will likely round out the three-man world team.

Japan’s Shoma Uno will likely be the favorite at worlds. He won last year’s world title, when Malinin admittedly cracked under pressure in the free skate after a fourth-place short program and ended up ninth.

That was before Malinin became the first person to land a quad Axel in competition. That was before Malinin became the story of the figure skating world this fall. That was before Malinin took over the American throne from Chen, who is studying at Yale and not expected to return to competition.

Malinin’s next step is to grab another label that Chen long held: best in the world. To do that, he must be better than he was on Sunday.

“You always learn from your experiences, and there’s always still the rest of the season to come,” he said. “I just have to be prepared and prepare a little bit extra so that doesn’t happen again.”

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