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2010 Winter Olympic roundup: Utah bobsledder in medal hunt

Park City's Steven Holcomb and Curtis Tomasevicz of the U.S. are less than a second from winning a bobsledding medal.
Park City's Steven Holcomb and Curtis Tomasevicz of the U.S. are less than a second from winning a bobsledding medal.
Clive Mason, Getty Images

WHISTLER, British Columbia ?— Park City's Steve Holcomb is less than a second from standing on his first Olympic podium.

"We're medal hopefuls, and we're still in striking distance," said Holcomb, who is ranked sixth in two-man. "We're just going to go out there and do the best we can (today). We're going to watch video, analyze what we did wrong and hopefully fix it for (today). Hopefully, we come out and get a medal."

Though he's the favorite, and defending World Champion in four-man bobsled, Holcomb made up for a bumpy first run with a stellar second run in the two-man bobsled competition Saturday night at Whistler Olympic Park.

He and his brakeman Curt Tomasevicz, Nebraska, were sixth after their first run in which they banged against several walls.

"We were to a point where the alarms were going off in my head," said Holcomb. "Fortunately we made it, but anything can happen. I named that curve, so it almost came back to bite me, but it's part of the sport."

Holcomb wasn't the only one who struggled down the track, as four others crashed. One of those was a Canadian team.

The German sleds sit one and two, and Holcomb and Tomasevicz are just .12 of a second from a bronze medal.

USA 2 driver John Napier and his push athlete, Steven Langton, were in 11th place with a time of 1:44.73.

USA 3 driver Mike Kohn was in 12th, just 1.87 behind the leader. His push athlete, Nick Cunningham, was thrilled about their performance.

"It's been absolutely unbelievable," said Cunningham, who spent most of the year as an alternate and was selected to push with Kohn just a few days ago. "I've got to thank USA 1, 2 and 3 and even the guys who didn't make this team. I'm out there representing everybody. I'm kind of the little guy, but I couldn't be there without them.

Even being in the competition is a win for Cunningham.

"Coming from an alternate position and kind of learning the ropes so quickly, it's absolutely a dream come true," he said. "I wake up and see Olympic rings and that's something I've always wanted to do and it's a way to kind of give back to everyone who's helped me along the way, even non-bobsled people from high school to T-ball."

SKI JUMPING: The U.S. men failed to medal in large hill ski jumping, but it didn't dampen their enthusiasm for he competition

"It's my first big international competition that I'm competing in, so it's good experience no matter what," said Peter Frenette, a 17-year-old from Saranac, N.Y. "This has been exciting and fun. It's inspiring to see all of the U.S. athletes get medals, and hopefully the next Olympics, I'll be right there."

The teen finished 32nd, two spots away from being able to advance for a second jump in the finals.

Frenette's teammate Nick Alexander, Lebanon, N.H., finished 40th, while Park City's Anders Johnson didn't qualify for Saturday's final.

Simon Ammann, Switzerland, won his second gold medal in a week with a score of 283.6 points. Silver went to Adam Malysz, Poland, with a score of 269.4; and the bronze medalist was Gregor Schlierenzaur with a score of 262.2.

CROSS COUNTRY: Sweden's Marcus Hellner sprinted to gold in the men's 30 kilometer cross country pursuit. The top U.S. finisher was James Southam (Anchorage) in 34th place.

Southam's teammate Kris Freeman, Andover, N.H., a Type I Diabetic, finished 45th, but dealt with a blood sugar issue that nearly kept him from finishing.

"The classic didn't go as planned," Southam said. "I never quite felt the rhythm classic skiing out there. I was able to hang with the pack for most of it."

Freeman saw his hopes come to an end when the longtime diabetes sufferer miscalculated his blood sugar and was so tired he laid down on the snow.

"All of a sudden, my body wasn't working," he said. "I thought that was going to be it. If the coach hadn't come over, I thought I was going to have to walk back to the finish line."

One of the German coaches gave Freeman a bottle of Gatorade and goo, and he was able to get to his feet and keep skiing.

"It's the Olympics and I want to finish the race," Freeman said. "I got up and after about 5K, I started to feel better, the sugar started coming back up."

e-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com