Holcomb's crew win U.S. first Olympic bobsleigh in 62 years

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Steve Holcomb steered the USA 1 to the American's first Olympic four-man bobsleigh triumph in 62 years at the Whistler Sliding center on Saturday.

Holcomb and his crew held on to a comfortable lead in the third run down the track and cruised to become the first American quartet to win the gold in the showcase sliding event since 1948 in St Moritz, Switzerland. "Smokin" Francis Tyler won the last U.S. bob medal 62 years ago.

Andre Lange drove Germany 1, who was in third and 0.54 seconds trailing USA 1 after three runs, one place forward for the silver in the last heat, 0.38 seconds behind the winners.

Canada 1, with Lyndon Rush at the helm, was in second position, 0.45 seconds off the pace, before the fourth and final run, but faltered to a slim one hundredth second slower for the last place of podium.

"It's incredible. We've been working so hard the last four years and it's finally paid off," said Holcomb.

"I saw this gold medal all the way back in 1994. That's when I really knew I wanted an Olympic gold medal."

On ending United States 62-year bobsleigh gold medal drought, Holcomb said: "no more 62 years. We'll start the clock over. Now it's going to be four years."

Holcomb and his company had underpinned their quest with a track record second effort of 50.86 seconds to hold pole position by 0.4 seconds over Canada 1.

They added another 0.005 seconds to their overnight margin in heat three, by which time it was effectively all over for Lange and the Canadians.

"When I stepped out of the sled today, I had to take a deep breath and tears came to my eyes. It feels like a huge burden has been lifted. A new life begins, a normal life and it's scary," said Lange.

"I know it's the right time to quit. I will start a new life, a real life from the rosy career I've been leading.

"In these two weeks in Canada I've experienced more than anyone can experience in a career."

Holcomb, who last year became the first American in half a century to win a world title, came to these Games just two years on from sight-saving surgery for a degenerative eye disorder.

"At that point, I thought I was done completely, so I never even thought I'd be back," said Holcomb on his eye disease surgery in 2008.

"I'm sure my eye surgeon is around here somewhere."

With Holcomb and his crew of Justin Olsen, Steve Mesler and Curtis Tomasevicz dominating the two days of competition, two-man champion Lange missed a record third straight title in his final race as he lost out on a fifth Olympic career gold.

Crucial to Holcomb's success may have been his lightning fast sled, perfectly suited to the Whistler track.

But Holcomb's driving skills have been unrivalled in Whistler as he was the only driver to breeze through the treacherous 13th corner on each of his four runs.

"Unfortunately, I've had my problems there as well. In the two-man, I had to have a little talk with 50-50 and made sure we had everything worked," said Holcomb referring to the 13th curve.

In total, 11 of the 29-strong field in the four-man competition crashed at corner 13, labeled 50-50 in reference to the chances of remaining upright.

Four teams did not start while five had already withdrawn before the opening heats as the difficulty and sheer speed of the track took a heavy toll.

Many of the teams struggled with one crash on average for every four bobs on Friday on a track which witnessed the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in pre-Games training.

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