Curt Tomasevicz, a native of Shelby, Neb., is making his third Olympics appearance in bobsledding — he won a gold medal in 2010. Tomasevicz, who competes Feb. 22-23, will be blogging periodically for The World-Herald throughout the Winter Games.
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Monday night was an epic moment for the U.S. bobsled team.
My teammates Steve Langton and Steve Holcomb won the bronze medal in the two-man event. In recent history, we have had much more success in four-man than we have in two-man. So the third-place finish was, in no way, a disappointment.
For me, the moment was 98-percent sweet and 2-percent bitter. The brakeman for the two-man team was chosen from the three push athletes on the four-man team. And for the last 10 years, I had pushed more races with “Holky” than anyone else. So the competitor in me really wanted to be the one pushing the USA-1 sled. But the teammate in me knew that Steve Langton was the best selection for the job.
That doesn’t mean that I didn’t have a role on Monday night. My job included sanding the runners, prepping the sled, and making sure the athletes had nothing to worry about but pushing and driving. I helped move the sled to the start line in the first heat and screamed at the monitor as they held their third-place position. And in the final heat of the night, I was at the bottom of the track to help move the sled out of the track and into inspection after being weighed.
During the final heat, the sleds come down the track in reverse order of rank. So when Langton and Holcomb were due to go, there were only two sleds that would come after. That means that if they crossed the line in first place, they were guaranteed a medal.
Again, I was glued to the monitor. They had a great start at the top, but there was a Russian sled currently sitting in the lead. The home team obviously had a loud, enthusiastic crowd. As my teammates came down the track our lead grew to .24 seconds at one point, but at half way down, it started to diminish. The Russian crowd knew this and got louder and louder as our lead dropped to .17, .12, and .07 seconds at each split time mark.
Chris Langton (the team alternate and Steve’s brother) and I were the only two Americans at the finish line waiting to help with the sled. We were surrounded by Russian volunteers and fans. When the USA sled crossed the line clinging on to a .03 of a second lead, 300 loud and crazy Russians went dead silent. Their screams were replaced by two screams coming from Chris and me. We jumped and hugged and all heads turned and looked at us as we sprinted toward the sled to give our hugs and congratulations to Langton and Holcomb.
Now we start four-man week. Now it is my turn to help the USA stand on the podium again, with hopes of standing even higher than a bronze. Sunday can’t come soon enough.