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Originally published Monday, February 17, 2014 at 9:29 PM

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Steven Holcomb helps U.S. end 62-year drought in two-man bobsled

He did the same feat four years ago in Vancouver


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SOCHI, Russia — Steven Holcomb tried to hide the pain as he limped from interview to interview after the first day of competition in the two-man bobsled. He blamed the limp on his shoes, saying he accidentally brought the wrong pair and they made him walk funny.

He didn’t want his competition to know that he was vulnerable, hobbled by a left calf strain that he suffered a few steps into the push on his second run Sunday. In fact, the pain was so instant and so intense, he wasn’t sure whether to stop running or hop in the bobsled.

“I’m glad he opted for the second option,” U.S. men’s coach Brian Shimer said.

So was Holcomb, who pushed through the pain Monday to capture a bronze medal with his brakeman Steve Langton. Their third-place finish ended the United States’ 62-year medal drought in the event and allowed Holcomb to throw aside concerns about his calf, if only for a little while.

The medal also marked the second time Holcomb has broken a 62-year Olympic bobsledding dearth. He piloted the four-man bob to gold in Vancouver, the first time since 1948 that the U.S. had won that event.

“This is my second 62-year medal drought that I’ve broken, which is awesome,” Holcomb said. “If anybody else has a 62-year drought they need to break, just let me know and we’ll try to help you.”

Russia’s Alexander Zubkov and Alexey Voevoda won the event, giving the host nation its first gold medal in any bobsled discipline.

Celski back at it

J.R. Celski is down to his last chance to win an individual medal at Sochi.

The American short track skater from Federal Way is looking to make up for disappointments in the 1,500 meters, where he was fourth, and the 1,000, where he clipped a block and crashed out in the quarterfinals.

“Just trying to stay positive and look forward to what I have left,” he said.

He opens his bid in the 500 with the heats Tuesday. Celski, the world record holder at the distance, drew the No. 2 lane in a four-man heat that includes Olivier Jean of Canada.

NOTES

• Five spins into the frosty night air followed by a near-perfect landing gave Anton Kushnir the gold medal in the freestyle aerials.

Darya Domracheva is so light-footed on her skis, her rivals have started comparing her with a dancer. Without losing rhythm, the Belarusian eased to her third victory at the Sochi Games by winning the 12.5-kilometer mass start race, completing an unprecedented haul of three gold medals in women’s biathlon at one Olympics.

Aksel Lund Svindal is leaving the Olympics because he has problems with allergies and fatigue. After training Monday, Svindal decided he would not enter the giant slalom race Wednesday.

• There was an angry online backlash to the interview televised Sunday, where NBC’s Christin Cooper repeatedly asked Bode Miller about his late brother as the skier collapsed in tears. Miller said he wasn’t angry at the reporter.

• Germany edged Austria by 2.7 points in the team large hill ski jump, ending Austria’s lengthy winning streak in the event — it had won gold in the last two Olympics and hadn’t lost a team large hill competition since the 2005 world championships.

• An Italian activist shouting “It’s OK to be gay” and dressed in a rainbow-colored outfit and large headdress was detained as she entered an arena to watch an hockey game. Vladimir Luxuria, a former Communist lawmaker in the Italian parliament who has become a prominent transgender rights crusader, was stopped by four men and then driven away by police in a car with Olympic markings. Luxuria later said she was kept in the car for about 10 minutes, then released in the countryside and the men took away her Olympics spectator pass. She eventually made it back to her hotel and said she was leaving Russia on Tuesday morning.



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