WINTERBERG, Germany — Maximilian Arndt drove to gold and Francesco Friedrich piloted his sled to silver Saturday, as Germany dominated a World Cup four-man bobsled race on one of its home tracks.
American pilots Steven Holcomb and Cory Butner both crashed, with Holcomb’s second-run topple likely costing him a medal.
Arndt and teammates Marko Huebenbecker, Alexander Roediger and Martin Putze finished two runs in 1 minute, 49.97 seconds. Friedrich and Jannie Baecker, Gregor Bermback and Thorsten Margis were timed in 1:50.14. The Russian team of Alexander Zubkov, Alexey Negodaylo, Dmitry Trunenkov and Aleksei Pushkarev took third in 1:50.17.
Nick Cunningham was the top U.S. driver, placing 12th with push athletes Justin Olsen, Johnny Quinn and Dallas Robinson.
Arndt took over the top spot in the four-man season standings, 70 points ahead of Holcomb. The 2010 Olympic champion won a four-man race at Winterberg in 2009, but hasn’t medaled in four subsequent tries.
Holcomb won all seven of the World Cup races in the U.S. and Canada before the holiday break, but often struggles in Winterberg. This trip so far has been no exception.
He dealt with a training crash during the week, didn’t medal in the two-man race on Friday and was 0.12 seconds behind Arndt after the first heat on Saturday, solidly in silver-medal position. And his times to start that second run were good enough to challenge for gold, but the sled rolled over as Holcomb tried to exit Corner 9.
Holcomb’s final time of 1:52.32 was only good for 20th, costing him a slew of World Cup points.
“It’s all about character now,” U.S. coach Brian Shimer said. “Life, unfortunately, gives you ups and downs, and the higher you go, the steeper you fall. We’ve all been through it, and we were prepared for the low. These guys are determined, probably the most motivated they’ve ever been, and whatever happens we keep looking ahead with the big picture in mind.”
Corner 9 also got Butner, who drove to a bronze medal in Friday’s two-man race. Butner and push athletes Chuck Berkeley, Adam Clark and Chris Langton crashed in the first heat, finishing 25th and ineligible for a second run.
Another four-man race in Winterberg is scheduled for Sunday.