Getty Images

U.S. bobsledders to receive silver medals from Sochi Games

1 Comment

Members of the 2014 U.S. Olympic two- and four-man bobsled teams will receive silver medals after initially finishing third at the Sochi Games, USA Bobsled and Skeleton (USABS) announced today.

The USOC received official notification from the International Olympic Committee that the two-man bobsled team of the late Steven Holcomb and Steve Langton and the four-man bobsled team of Holcomb, Langton, Chris Fogt and Curt Tomasevicz would be awarded silver medals, according to USABS. Russian pilot Aleksandr Zubkov and push athlete Aleksei Voyevoda, who originally won gold in the two- and four-man events in Sochi, were disqualified in 2017 for doping violations after a reanalysis of samples. Due to a series of appeals, medal reallocations were not announced until today.

“We have always believed in competing with integrity and respect for ourselves, our sport and for our competitors,” Fogt, Langton, and Tomasevicz said in a joint statement, according to USABS. “It’s unfortunate that our results were not official in February of 2014 and that we’ve had to endure the long process to see justice finally served…We commend the IOC, WADA, the IBSF and the USOC for their willingness to take a stand for what is right…We encourage them to stand firm and continue their fight against individuals looking to undermine the discipline and dedication of clean athletes.”

Holcomb, a three-time Olympic medalist, piloted the four-man “Night Train” sled to gold in 2010, ending a 62-year gold medal drought for the U.S. in men’s bobsled, before serving as pilot again in 2014. He died unexpectedly in May 2017 at age 37.

“This result appropriately bolsters Holcomb’s legacy as one of the very best athletes to ever drive a bobsled,” Fogt, Langton and Tomasevicz said in their statement. “…he would be smiling knowing that we’re one step closer to a fair playing field.”

The reallocated silver medals will be presented to the athletes and Holcomb’s family in an upcoming ceremony. Details have not yet been announced.

“We are so proud of Steven and all that he accomplished, both on and off the ice,” his mother, Jean Schaefer, said, according to USABS. “We are happy that he and his teammates are to be recognized as the silver medalists, their rightful place. While we wish Steven could accept his silver medals alongside his teammates, our family is honored to accept them on his behalf.”

Regan Smith swims another historic backstroke time at Pro Series meet

Leave a comment

Regan Smith, who last summer broke both backstroke world records, put up the fastest 100m back in history outside of a major international meet or trials competition on Saturday.

Smith, a 17-year-old Minnesota high school senior, clocked 58.26 seconds to win at a Pro Series meet in Knoxville, Tenn. It tied for the 12th-fastest time in history. None of the other fastest dozen came in January, six months out from when swimmers peak for the world’s biggest events like the Olympics.

Making it more impressive: Smith did it 27 minutes after finishing second in the 200m butterfly, which she’s also expected to contest at June’s Olympic trials in Omaha.

“It actually wasn’t as bad, as I was nervous it was going to be,” Smith, whose world record is 57.57, said of the double on NBCSN. Smith entered two events per day at the three-day Knoxville meet, in part to prepare for the trials, where she is slated to race six straight days in a bid to make the Olympic team in enough events to swim eight straight days in Tokyo.

On Saturday, Smith held off fellow 17-year-old Phoebe Bacon by six tenths. Bacon beat Smith at the U.S. Open in December, posting the second-fastest time among Americans in the event for 2019.

The teen emergence puts pressure on Kathleen Baker, the Rio Olympic silver medalist who had the world record before Smith took it at worlds.

Full Knoxville results are here. USASwimming.org live streams the last night of finals Sunday at 6:30 ET.

In other events Saturday, world silver medalist Hali Flickinger overcame Smith in the 200m fly, winning in 2:08.34. Smith, third-fastest among Americans last season, was .39 behind. The second-fastest American last year, Katie Drabot, was not in the field. The top two at trials make the Olympic team.

Erika Brown beat world champion Simone Manuel in a freestyle sprint for a second straight meet, taking the 50m free in 24.57 seconds.

Brown, a University of Tennessee senior, edged Manuel by .06 and took .01 off her personal best. Brown ranked third among Americans last year behind Manuel (24.05) and Abbey Weitzeil (24.47).

Brown also defeated Manuel in the 100m free at the U.S. Open in December, moving to fourth-fastest in the U.S. last year in that event. The top six in the 100m free at trials are in line to make the Olympic team, given relay spots.

MORE: Australian swim star issues plea after hometown hit by fires

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Mikaela Shiffrin nearly makes it three-way tie for World Cup win

Leave a comment

Mikaela Shiffrin came .01 shy of making it a three-way tie for a World Cup giant slalom win on Saturday, confirming GS has been the most up-for-grabs discipline for either gender in recent years.

Shiffrin, beaten in her last two slaloms, had the fastest second run to place third behind co-winners Italian Federica Brignone and Slovakian Petra Vlhova in Sestriere, Italy. The reigning Olympic and World Cup champion in the GS rallied from fourth place and .42 behind after the first run.

Shiffrin still leads the World Cup overall standings by 233 points over Vlhova. The American last won Dec. 29. Though she made the podium in three of her four races since, Shiffrin expressed a lack of confidence heading into this weekend’s races at the 2006 Olympic venue.

“The most exciting thing for me is that people have stopped asking me, like, are you unbeatable?” said Shiffrin, who won a record 17 World Cup races last season and has four victories nearly halfway through this season, tied with Vlhova for most on tour. “I feel really good in GS. It’s just been a long time since [the last GS on Dec. 28].”

Vlhova earned her third victory this month after beating Shiffrin those last two slaloms. Brignone leads the GS season standings by 61 points over Shiffrin, seeking to become the sixth different woman to win that discipline title in the last six years. There are four more GS races left this season.

It’s the second straight season with a World Cup GS tie. Last Feb. 1, Shiffrin and Vlhova tied in Maribor, Slovenia.

It’s the first time the top three finishers were separated by such a small margin since the last three-way tie for a win in 2006, when Lindsey VonnMichaela Dorfmeister and Nadia Styger had the same super-G time, and fourth-place Kelly VanderBeek was .01 behind.

“Last season, I had the lucky side of the hundredths many times, so sometimes I’m not going to be on the lucky side, too,” said Shiffrin, who had three victories by .16 or tighter last season.

World Cup racing continues with a parallel giant slalom on Sunday at 5:45 a.m. ET on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and streaming on NBC Sports Gold.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Shiffrin among 10 dominant Winter Olympians of 2010s decade