Bobsled pilot Steven Holcomb entered the world championships on the heels of some inexplicably poor performances, but still put himself in position to defend his world title in the four-man bobsled competition Saturday.
The Park City native and his "Night Train" sled crew raced to third place, after the first two of four runs in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
The final two runs are Sunday.
"Training wasn't going well this week, so I wasn't sure how we would fare," Holcomb said. "We are pumped up after today, and I know exactly what I need to do tomorrow to make up some time."
Holcomb clocked a two-run total of 2 minutes, 11.14 seconds just 0.30 seconds behind leader and race favorite Alexandr Zubkov of Russia. In between them, Germany's Maximilian Arndt is sitting in second in 2:10.89. Switzerland's Beat Hefti is just 0.01 seconds behind Holcomb, ensuring some riveting racing on the final day of the championships.
"There were some position changes in the second run because of the snowfall, and we were in front of it," said Holcomb, who was coming off two bad World Cup performances. "The guys are pumped and really stepped it up today, and I know they will go even harder tomorrow. I just have to do my job and make sure I don't make any mistakes tomorrow."
Bobsled World Championships
At St. Moritz, Switzerland
(After 1st and 2nd runs)
1. Russia (Alexander Zubkov, Alexey Negodaylo, Dmitry Trunenkov, Maxim Mokrousov), 2:10.84 (1:05.26-1:05.58).
2. Germany (Maximilian Arndt, Marko Huebenbecker, Alexander Roediger, Martin Putze), 2:10.89 (1:05.21-1:05.68).
3. United States (Steven Holcomb, Justin Olsen, Steven Langton, Curtis Tomasevicz), 2:11.14 (1:05.55-1:05.59).
4. Switzerland (Beat Hefti, Alex Baumann, Thmas Lamparter, Juerg Egger), 2:11.15 (1:05.65-1:05.50).
5. Germany (Francesco Friedrich, Axel Christ, Gino Gerhardi, Thorsten Margis), 2:11.25 (1:05.64-1:05.61).
6. Germany (Manuel Machata, Jannis Baecker, Jan Speer, Christian Poser), 2:11.28 (1:05.59-1:05.69).
7. Germany (Thomas Florschuetz, Andreas Bredau, Ronny Listner, Thomas Blaschek), 2:11.29 (1:05.63-1:05.66).
8. Britain (John James Jackson, Stuart Benson, Bruce Tasker, Joel Fearon), 2:11.30 (1:05.84-1:05.46).
9. Russia (Alexander Kasjanov, Petr Moiseev, Maxim Belugin, Kirill Antukh), 2:11.32 (1:05.67-1:05.65).
10. Switzerland (Rico Peter, Thomas Ruf, Patrick Bloechliger, Simon Friedli), 2:11.34 (1:05.68-1:05.66).
The Associated Press