curt tomasevicz

Steve Holcomb
AP

More Russian doping means Steven Holcomb’s medals will be upgraded

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Steven Holcomb remains a winner of three Olympic medals. He will have held only one of them.

Another round of International Olympic Committee sanctions against Russian athletes who were found to have participated in doping at the 2014 Sochi Games came down Friday, headlined by bobsledder Aleksandr Zubkov being stripped of the gold medals he won in two- and four-man events.

Holcomb, who died in May, will posthumously move up one spot from bronze to silver in each of those races, once the medals are formally reallocated.

“It’s going to be weird for his family and it’s going to be weird for us,” U.S. veteran push athlete Chris Fogt, who was part of Holcomb’s four-man team in Sochi, said after the IOC decision Friday. “I’d like to think that we would be all together when it happens. And when we get those medals, we’re not going to have him there.”

A half-dozen U.S. bobsled and skeleton athletes are going to benefit from the Russian medalist disqualifications.

Skeleton racer Matt Antoine and bobsledders Holcomb, Fogt, Steven Langton and Curt Tomasevicz all left Sochi with bronzes and will be getting silvers. Skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender will be getting her first medal, with her finish upgraded from fourth to bronze. And combined, they’ll be collecting a total of $45,000 in additional bonus money from the U.S. Olympic Committee, which rewards medal performances.

MORE: A look at the Russians stripped of Olympic medals from Sochi

Now comes a delicate matter, with Holcomb’s family likely having to surrender his bronzes and await the exchange for the silvers. Holcomb’s father and one of his sisters wore the bronze medals at his memorial service in May in Lake Placid, New York.

“It’s definitely a little bittersweet that Holcomb isn’t here to see this happening,” said Langton, who was with Holcomb for the two-man medal-winning ride in Sochi and was also in the four-man sled with Holcomb, Fogt and Tomasevicz. “He worked hard and he earned those medals. It would have been very nice if he had the chance to enjoy them.”

Zubkov has been at World Cup races this season as president of the Russian bobsled federation. Unless the ruling is overturned on appeal, he won’t be at the Pyeongchang Olympics this winter, or any other Olympics. The IOC says sanctions against him – and other athletes found to have doped – include lifetime banishment from the games.

The International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation provisionally suspended Russian skeleton athletes Aleksandr Tretiakov and Elena Nikitina from World Cup events – both won medals in Sochi that were stripped this week. It’s likely that a similar ban could be issued to the bobsledders involved in Friday’s IOC ruling, including Zubkov.

“It’s important to be able to move forward,” said USA Bobsled and Skeleton CEO Darrin Steele, also an executive with the IBSF. “No doubt about it.”

Pending the IBSF changing results as the IOC has asked, the two-man gold medal will now almost certainly go to Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann of Switzerland. The four-man gold medal would go to the Latvian sled driven by Oskars Melbardis and pushed by Arvis Vilkaste, Daumants Dreiskens and Janis Strenga.

Holcomb’s sleds would get the silver in both races. Russia would get the bronze in both, with driver Alexander Kasjanov – who had a pair of fourth-place showings in Sochi – set for the upgrade. Neither Kasjanov nor any member of his team has been sanctioned by the IOC in relation to the doping scandal.

Langton said he’s pleased that the process, which sliding athletes from countless countries have been monitoring in anticipation of the disqualifications, is finally nearing an end.

“I had faith that the people handling it would handle it appropriately,” Langton said.

Thomas Bach warns critics ahead of Russia decision

Steven Holcomb & Co. earn 4-man bronze for U.S.; Russia wins one more gold

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The U.S. women got two bobsled medals at the Sochi Olympics, and today, the U.S. men followed suit.

After taking bronze for the first two-man medal for the U.S. since 1952, driver Steven Holcomb and his “Night Train 2” teammates – Steven Langton, Chris Fogt, and Curt Tomasevicz – brought home another bronze in the four-man this morning.

With that, Holcomb and his two-man partner Langton have not only become the lone Americans to win multiple individual medals in Sochi, but also the first two U.S. bobsledders to medal twice in a single Winter Games since 1952 (Stanley Benham/Patrick Martin).

Meryl Davis and Charlie White are the other Americans with multiple medals in Sochi thanks to their individual gold in ice dancing and a bronze in the team figure skating competition.

The four-man bronze also cements the U.S. sliders as the most decorated of the Sochi Games with seven medals.

While the American bobsled, skeleton and luge competitors did not earn any golds, they got two silvers (Elana Meyers/Lauryn Williams – women’s bobsled; Noelle Pikus-Pace – skeleton) and five bronzes (Holcomb/Langton – two-man; Holcomb/Langton/Fogt/Tomasevicz – four-man; Jamie Greubel/Aja Evans – women’s bobsled; Matt Antoine – skeleton; Erin Hamlin – luge).

MORE: Russia wins Sochi medal count after sweeping men’s mass start

Up front, the Russians added one more gold medal as Alexander Zubkov became the sixth bobsled driver in Olympic history to win the two-man and four-man at a single Winter Olympics and the first since Germany’s Andre Lange pulled it off at Torino in 2006.

With that, Russia earned its 13th gold in Sochi and capped its final overall medal count at 33.

Zubkov and his RUS-1 team won out by .09 of a second over the Latvians, who claimed their first-ever Olympic medal in bobsled with Oskars Melbardis at the controls.

MEN’S BOBSLED – FOUR-MAN FINAL STANDINGS
(Aggregate time across four runs)
1. RUS-1 (Zubkov/Voyevoda/Trunenkov/Negodaylo), 3:40.60

2. LAT-1 (Melbardis/Vilkaste/Dreiskens/Strenga), 3:40.69
3. USA-1 (Holcomb/Langton/Fogt/Tomasevicz), 3:40.99

12. USA-2 (Cunningham/Quinn/Olsen/Robinson), 3:42.70

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.

MORE: Ligety suffers DNF in men’s slalom; Austria’s Mario Matt wins

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.