U.S. fourth after first day of four-man bobsled, but not far behind

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The defending Olympic four-man bobsled champions from Team USA sit fourth after the first day of four-man bobsled but are well within striking distance.

That said, they’ll have to overcome three strong teams from Russia, Germany and Latvia in order to claim a second consecutive gold medal in the discipline.

Steven Holcomb and his “Night Train 2 ” teammates – Steven Langton, Chris Fogt, and Curt Tomasievicz – are currently a mere .17 of a second behind the leaders from Russia.

The Russians, with two-man gold medalist Alexander Zubkov as the driver, hold a lead of four one-hundredths of a second over the Latvians and driver Oskars Melbardis. Germany’s top sled, driven by Maximilian Arndt, sits third at .16 behind.

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Holcomb and his teammates were third-fastest in Run 1 with a time of 54.89, but lost some speed in Run 2, which went by in 55.47 seconds. The Latvians were able to move from fifth all the way to second, jumping USA-1, GER-1 and GER-3.

The race was marred by an incident involving the Canadians’ third sled, which had its left runner go off the ice heading into a left-hand turn and cause the sled to slam into the banking and flip on its side.

CAN-3 wound up sliding past the start/finish line before coming to a stop. Luckily, all four of its racers – Justin Kripps, Cody Sorensen, Jesse Lumsden, and Ben Coakwell – were able to climb out and walk off the track.

Because they crossed the stripe, their second run officially was marked down in the standings as a 59.91-second run. It was on pace to become the fastest time of the heat before the crash.