published Saturday, February 27th, 2010

'Night Train' gives US 1st 4-man gold since 1948

  • photo
    The United States' USA-1, with Steven Holcomb, Justin Olsen, Steve Mesler, and Curtis Tomasevicz, start the third run during the men's four-man bobsled final competition at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

WHISTLER, British Columbia — With one more perfect run down sliding's most difficult track, Steven Holcomb drove USA-1 to the Olympic gold medal in four-man bobsledding on Saturday, ending a 62-year drought for the Americans in the event.

It was the first gold medal for the U.S. in sliding's signature race since Francis Tyler won one for the Americans at St. Moritz in 1948.

Holcomb's four-run time was 3 minutes, 24.46 seconds, with Justin Olsen, Steve Mesler and Curt Tomasevicz pushing for him again — just as they did in winning the world championship a year ago.

"This is bigger," U.S. coach Brian Shimer said.

There might not be any comparison whatsoever.

German Andre Lange, who failed to win a gold medal for the first time in five Olympic events, had a nearly perfect final run to win the silver in what he says will be his final race. Lange finished 0.38 seconds behind Holcomb and his team of Justin Olsen, Steve Mesler and Curt Tomasevicz.

Lyndon Rush drove Canada-1 to the bronze.

Holcomb and his sledmates crossed the finish line one more time and threw their arms in the air before wrapping each other in American flags. Holcomb hoisted his helmet high as family and friends craned for photographs, and a party that the U.S. program had been waiting 62 years for was finally getting started.

"It's huge," said USA-3 driver Mike Kohn, who finished 13th. "This is a great moment. It's hopefully going to change the program and bring some publicity and some funding to this sport, just like it did in '02 when we won silver and bronze."

Kohn was a push athlete for Brian Shimer's sled at those 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, when Todd Hays drove to silver and Shimer got the Americans a bronze.

The U.S. had never been closer to being kings of the bobsled mountain — until now.

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