November 23, 2012

WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) -- Steven Holcomb extended his season-opening winning streak to three in World Cup two-man bobsled racing Friday night, beating Canada's Lyndon Rush by 0.04 seconds.

Holcomb, from Park City, Utah, and push athlete Steve Langton of Melrose, Mass., had a two-run time of 1 minute, 45.26 seconds. Rush, teaming with Lascelles Brown, followed in 1:45.30.

"I didn't win by much in this race," Holcomb said. "Lyndon is on his home track, and it's not easy to beat him here. I knew I had to lay down a smoker to keep the lead. ... I hope I can carry this momentum to Europe. We'll be in the Germans' backyard, and they'll play rough."

In the women's race, Canada's Kaillie Humphries pushed her winning streak to six.

Humphries and rookie brakeman Chelsea Valois had a two-run time of 1:48.68. Switzerland's Fabienne Meyer and Elisabeth Graf were second in 1:49.37, and Germany's Sandra Kiriasis and Brett Wiacker third in 1:49.50.

"North America seems to like me and I like it," Humphries said. "Hopefully, we can keep this streak alive as we head over to Europe. I know we have some big challenges ahead."

Humphries' streak started in Whistler last February, the track where she won an Olympic gold medal in 2010.

In the men's race, Langton helped give Holcomb momentum down the course with a push time of 4.79 seconds, and Holcomb squeaked ahead of Rush by 0.03 seconds with a first run of 52.54 seconds.

"I made some mistakes in the first run, but I was able to watch some video between heats and knew what adjustments I needed to make," Holcomb said. "I couldn't make any mistakes in the second heat if I was going to maintain the lead, and I knew Langton was going to give me a huge start. I just had to do my job."

In the second run, the Americans powered off the starting block two-hundredths of a second faster, and Holcomb pieced together a near perfect run in USA-1.

"Lyndon had a great second run, but we were lucky we were able to pick up that hundredth," Holcomb said. "I'm happy that my two-man driving is coming around. I'm happy with the way things are going, because this field isn't easy to beat. I just wish this had happened two years ago, but it gives me something to strive for in 2014."

Germany's Francesco Friedrich was third in 1:45.60.

Nick Cunningham of Monterey, Calif., and Chris Fogt of Alpine, Utah, finished ninth in 1:46.11, and Cory Butner of Yucaipa, Calif., and Johnny Quinn of McKinney, Texas, were 10th in 1:46.12.

In the women's race, the U.S. teams finished ninth, 10th and 11th.

Jazmine Fenlator of Wayne, N.J., and Katie Eberling of Palos Hills, Ill., were ninth, followed by Elana Meyers of Douglasville, Ga., and track star Lolo Jones of Des Moines, Iowa, and the team of Jamie Greubel of Newtown, Pa., and Emily Azevedo of Chico, Calif.

Meyers and Jones blasted their sled off the block in 5.11 seconds in the final heat to tie the start record set by gold medalist Humphries and Heather Moyse in the 2010 Olympics.

"I am definitely proud of the team," women's bobsled head coach Todd Hays said. "They conquered an extremely tough track, probably the toughest in the world, in a very short amount of time. I'm happy with the results. We got good points and experience for next year."

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