Steven Holcomb

Steven Holcomb snaps European four-man drought

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Steven Holcomb won his first World Cup four-man bobsled race outside North America in more than four years, taking the final event of the season in Konigssee, Germany, on Sunday.

Holcomb and the Night Train 2 crew posted a two-run time of 1 minute, 38.54 seconds. Swiss Beat Hefti was second, .09 behind, followed by Canadian Lyndon Rush.

“We made some changes to the sled,” Holcomb said. “It’s running really well. Two awesome pushes from my guys. This is [push athlete] Curt’s [Tomasevicz] last [World Cup] race, wanted to go out with a bang.”

Holcomb will look for his first Olympic two-man gold from Feb. 16-17 and his second straight Olympic four-man title on Feb. 22-23.

He’s done well this World Cup season, winning the two-man title and finishing second in the four-man standings, his highest finishes in four years.

Holcomb also snapped four-year winless droughts on tracks outside North America in two- and four-man. His last four-man World Cup win was Dec. 13, 2009.

Konigssee Four-Man
1. Steven Holcomb (USA) 1:38.54
2. Beat Hefti (SUI) 1:38.63
3. Lyndon Rush (CAN) 1:38.84
10. Nick Cunningham (USA) 1:39.21

Meyers loses World Cup title by one point

Kaillie Humphries edges Elana Meyers for World Cup title in stunning finale

Elana Meyers, Aja Evans
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An at times surprising women’s bobsled World Cup season ended with the unlikeliest race winner yet and the tightest possible finish for the overall title.

Swiss Fabienne Meyer took her first career World Cup gold, overcoming Canadian Kaillie Humphries in the second run to win in Konigssee, Germany, on Sunday.

The top U.S. hope for Sochi gold — 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Elana Meyers and Aja Evans — improved from eighth after the first run to finish second. Meyers and Evans’ second run of 51.67 seconds was the fastest out of 30 total runs from the entire 15-sled field.

“I think the first drive could have been a little better,” Meyers said. “The second drive we really fought.”

Humphries was third and beat Meyers for the World Cup season title by one point — 1,629 to 1,628. Humphries is the two-time reigning World Cup champion, Olympic champion and world champion. She is the favorite going into Sochi.

Jazmine Fenlator and Lolo Jones were fourth after the first run, but a critical skid in the second pushed them to eighth. The third U.S. sled of Jamie Greubel and Lauryn Williams took 10th.

The women’s bobsled event at the Sochi Olympics is Feb. 18-19.

Konigssee Two-Woman
1. Fabienne Meyer/Tanja Mayer (SUI) 1:44.01
2. Elana Meyers/Aja Evans (USA) 1:44.27
3. Kaillie Humphries/Heather Moyse (CAN) 1:44.29
8. Jazmine Fenlator/Lolo Jones (USA) 1:45.28
10. Jamie Greubel/Lauryn Williams (USA) 1:45.17

Video: Jason Brown on Arsenio Hall show

Noelle Pikus-Pace wins shortened skeleton World Cup finale

Noelle Pikus-Pace
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There were eight women’s World Cup skeleton races this season. The U.S.’ Noelle Pikus-Pace won four. Great Britain’s Lizzy Yarnold won four.

No doubt, this will be the most anticipated head-to-head in sliding sports in Sochi.

Pikus-Pace won the World Cup finale in Konigssee, Germany, in 52.92 seconds on Friday. Snow poured on the track, shortening the race to one heat.

“I woke up this morning and saw the snow and thought, ‘Well, it’s what we do, it’s part of the sport,'” Pikus-Pace said, according to the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation. “You have to adapt.”

The Utah native prevailed by a comfortable .44 over Austrian Janine Flock. Brit Shelley Rudman was third.

Yarnold was a startling ninth, her first non-podium of the season, but still wrapped up the World Cup title.

Pikus-Pace, 31, finished fourth at the 2010 Olympics, retired, gave birth to her second child and came out of retirement for last season. The 2007 world champion is sliding better than ever and would have won five races this season if she had not been disqualified for illegal tape on her sled in the November opener.

Pikus-Pace’s maternal grandfather passed away this week. Her brother and sponsors surprised her by showing up to Friday’s race.

“I struggled a lot this week,” said Pikus-Pace, who plans to retire after Sochi. “I didn’t take as many runs as I planned because I was having a difficult time focusing. It’s been very hard not being home right now. I was just hoping for a top-six finish here, and I am grateful to have finished with the win.”

Yarnold, too, is at a career peak. The 24-year-old had never been in the top three of the World Cup standings before this season. She and Rudman look to win Britain’s second straight Olympic gold after the retirement of Vancouver champion Amy Williams.

The Sochi Olympic women’s skeleton event will be Feb. 13-14.

Konigssee Women’s Skeleton
1. Noelle Pikus-Pace (USA) 52.92
2. Janine Flock (AUT) 53.36
3. Shelley Rudman (GBR) 53.42
11. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 54.40

Staten Island man, 46, and wife will ski for Dominica at Sochi