Saturday, February 21, 1998
Germany wins four-man bobsled
NAGANO, Japan (AP) -- The French went nuts, the British swigged champagne and the Germans celebrated in their calm, cool way.
Christoph Langen easily won gold in Germany 2. Langen, who sat out last year with a torn Achilles' tendon, dominated the competition from the start Friday and finished the three heats in 2 minutes, 39.41 seconds.
Marcel Rohner won silver in Switzerland 1 in 2:40.01. Sean Olsson in Britain 1 and Bruno Mingeon each finished in 2:40.06.
For American Brian Shimer it was another dissapointing Olympic result. Four years after he became the only man in Olympic history to get disqualified from a bobsled race because of sled runners that were warmer than the rules allow, Shimer came oh-so-close to that elusive bobsled medal.
Shimer finished fourth Saturday in USA 1, just two-hundredths of a second behind France and Britain, who tied for the bronze.
Shimer was attempting to break the 42-year Olympic medal drought for the United States in a sport it once dominated. It hasn't won an Olympic bobsled medal since Arthur Tyler captured the four-man bronze at Cortina, Italy in 1956.
Friday's second run was canceled because of a steady rain and temperatures in the mid-30s. That transformed the race into a three-heat contest, and it turned into another disappointment for Shimer, of Naples, Fla., who was competing in his fourth Olympics.
Tied for third with Olsson of Britain and Christian Reich of Switzerland entering the final run, Shimer failed at the bottom of the tricky 15-turn Spiral course.
With musclemen Chip Minton and Randy Jones yelling and pushing with their considerable might, Shimer, who began the day in fourth, picked up valuable time at the start. His shiny Bo-Dyn sled, painted black with blue flames across its bow, had the fastest start of the final run and the fastest overall time until the final four turns.
Somewhere, somehow, he just wasn't good enough at the helm to bring home a medal. And when Shimer crossed the finish line and looked up, Mingeon and his crew were yelling and screaming, for France had won its first Olympic bobsled medal.
Olsson, too, was ecstatic, for Britain had its first medal of these Olympics, and first bobsled medal since Anthony Nash won gold in the two-man in 1964 at Innsbruck.
The ending offered sweet redemption for Langen. He had won bronze in two-man at Albertville, then was disappointed four years ago when he failed to qualify for the German Olympic team.
Langen calls his reddish-orange sled Muckl, in German a term of endearment usually reserved for loved ones. And Muckl didn't let him down this time. No other sled was even close to being its equal. Langen was Shimer's equal at the top and was fastest when it counted most.
As usual, driving won the race, and Langen learned the crucial subtleties of the sport, especially the deft touch needed to steer an 1,800-pound bobsled down a chute of ice at over 80 mph, from one of the best -- Wolfgang Hoppe, the most decorated bobsled driver in history.
As usual, the disappointment was spread around.
Jim Herberich, of Winchester, Mass., in USA 2, was 12th in 2:41.27, in his first Olympic four-man race. Like most of the field, he had trouble in the final five turns, especially coming out of Turn 12, where he bounced off the wall more than once. That cost him precious time in a sport that doesn't allow for such mistakes.
The defending gold medalist, 35-year-old Harald Czudaj, also had difficulties on each run and finished eighth in Germany 1, nearly a second behind Langen.
NAGANO, Japan (AP) -- Final results Saturday from the bobsled medal event at the Winter Olympics:
Four-man final 1. Germany 2 (Christoph Langen; Markus Zimmermann; Marco Jakobs; Olaf Hampel), Two minutes, 39.41 seconds; 2. Switzerland 1 (Marcel Rohner; Markus Nuessli; Markus Wasser; Beat Seitz), 2:40.01; 3. (tie) Britain 1 (Sean Olsson; Dean Ward; Courtney Rumbolt; Paul Attwood), 2:40.06; France 1 (Bruno Mingeon; Emmanuel Hostache; Eric Le Chanony; Max Robert), 2:40.06; 5. U.S. 1 (Brian Shimer; Nathan Minton III; Randy Jones; Garrett Hines), 2:40.08.
6. Latvia 1 (Sandis Prusis; Egils Bojars; Janis Ozols; Janis Elsins), 2:40.26; 7. Switzerland 2 (Christian Reich; Steve Anderhub; Thomas Handschin; Cedric Grand), 2:40.28; 8. Germany 1 (Harald Czudaj; Torsten Voss; Steffen Goermer; Alexander Szelig), 2:40.32; 9. (tie) Canada 1 (Pierre Lueders, Edmonton; Ricardo Greenidge, Ottawa; Jack Pyc, Calgary; David MacEachern, Charlottetown), 2:40.39; Austria 1 (Hubert Schoesser; Peter Leismuller; Erwin Arnold; Martin Schuetzenauer), 2:40.39.
11. Canada 2 (Chris Lori, Windsor, Ont.; Ben Hindle, Calgary; Matt Hindle, Calgary; Ian Danney, Edmonton), 2:41.14; 12. U.S. 2 (Jim Herberich; Darrin Steele; John Kasper; Robert Olesen), 2:41.27; 13. Czech Republic 1 (Pavel Puskar; Peter Kondrat; Pavel Polomsky; Jan Kobian), 2:41.29; 14. Italy 1 (Guenther Huber; Antonio Tartaglia; Massimiliano Rota; Marco Menchini), 2:41.43.
15. Japan 1 (Naomi Takewaki; Hiroaki Ohishi; Takashi Ohori; Masanori Inoue), 2:41.55; 16. Japan 2 (Toshio Wakita; Yasuo Nakamura; Toshiya Onoda; Shinji Aoto), 2:41.96; 17. Norway 1 (Arnfinn Kristiansen; Joern Dahl; Peter Kildal; Dagfinn Aarskog), 2:42.07; 18. Austria 2 (Kurt Einberger; Thomas Bachler; Georg Kuttner; Michael Mueller), 2:42.14; 19. Russia 1 (Pavel Chtcheglovski; Alexei Seliverstov; Vladislav Possedkin; Konstantin Demin), 2:42.38; 20. Italy 2 (Fabrizio Tosini; Andrea Pais De Libera; Enrico Costa; Sergio Chianella), 2:43.02.
21. Jamaica 1 (Dudley Stokes; Winston Watt; Nelson Stokes; Wayne Thomas), 2:43.76; 22. Poland 1 (Tomasz Zyla; Dawid Kupczyk; Krzysztof Sienko; Tomasz Gatka), 2:43.79; 23. Australia 1 (Jason Giobbi; Scott Walker; Ted Polglaze; Adam Barclay), 2:44.88; 24. Hungary 1 (Nicholas Frankl; Peter Pallai; Zsolt Zsombor; Bertalan Pinter), 2:44.92; 25. Bosnia-Herzegovina 1 (Zoran Sokolovic; Nihad Mameledzija; Edin Krupalija; Mario Franjic), 2:45.67.
26. Taiwan 1 (Sun Kuang-ming; Doh Maw-Sheng; Chang Mau-san; Cheng Jin-shan), 2:45.95; 27. Romania 1 (Florian Enache; Marian Chitescu; Iulian Pacioianu; Mihai Dumitrascu), 2:46.06; 28. Monaco 1 (Albert Grimaldi; Pascal Camia; Jean-Francois Calmes; Gilbert Bessi), 2:47.14; 29. U.S. Virgin Islands 1 (Keith Sudziarski; Christian Brown; Paul Zar; Jeff Kromenhoek), 2:47.16; 30. Ireland 1 (Jeff Pamplin; Simon Linscheid; Garry Power; Terry McHugh), 2:47.23.
31. Greece 1 (Greg Sebald; Anastasios Papakonstantinou; Peter Kolotouros; John-Andrew Kambanis), 2:48.26; Not ranked. Puerto Rico 1 (Liston Bochette; Jorge Bonnet; Jose Ferrer; Joseph Keosseian), Disqualified.