Germany crashes into top spot in 2-man bobsled after 2 runs


The German two-man bobsled team of pilot Nico Walther and Christian Poser had a big crash in the two-man bobsled on Sunday. Fortunately for the Germans, it came after they crossed the finish line. In a thrilling finish, the German team lost control just as they crossed the finish to take the lead after two runs of the two-man bobsled, grabbing a 0.1-second lead over the Justin Kripps piloted Canadian sled. 

Germany’s Johannes Lochner sled is in third, 0.19 seconds behidn the Walther sled while Latvia’s Oskars Melbardis sled is in fourth, 0.23 seconds behind. Only 0.29 seconds separate the top five, which should make for an exciting second day of competition, which can be streamed live here at 6:15 a.m. ET

Team USA’s two-man bobsled teams struggled in their first two runs. The top team of Justin Olsen and Evan Weinstock finished the day in 12th place, 0.63 seconds out of third. Nick Cunningham and Hakeem Abdul-Saboor (25th) and Codie Bascue and Sam McGuffie (26th) rounded out the U.S. competitors. 

It was a tight race from the first run. Oskars Melbardis and Janis Strenga of Latvia led after Run 1, but only by 0.02 over the Canadian Kripps sled. Three German sleds and another Latvian sled weren’t far behind — only 0.16 seconds separated the top six after the first run.

2017 world champions from Germany. Francesco Friedrich piloted Thorsten Margis. They struggled in their second run, making a mistake in the top of the course that might have ended their gold medal chances. 

The U.S. sleds were unable to join the crowded top of the field — each sled struggled in its first run and immediately found themselves out of medal contention.

Olsen, who underwent an emergency appendectomy just after arriving in PyeongChang less than two weeks ago, put together the best run, but he and Weinstock were 0.54 out of third — light years in the high-speed world of bobsled.

The Cunningham piloted sled got off to a rough start, coming off too high into Curve 2, and Cunningham was never able to recover. They were 0.84 back of first after the first ride down the hill, essentially putting themselves out of medal contention immediately.

Codie Bascue, driving with Steve Holcomb’s name on his sled (Holcomb, who was meant to pilot a team in PyeongChang, passed away in 2017), hit a rough line at the top of the hill and was never able to recover in Run 1. He and McGuffie were 0.91 off of medal pace  after their first run. They weren’t able to improve much on the second run. 

With five teams in position to win a medal, Runs 3 and 4 on Sunday should lead to an exciting medal chase. 

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