SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

February 24, 2014

Langton makes it two bronze on Olympics final day

TIM REYNOLDS
AP Sports Writer

---- — KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — A couple of years ago, Chris Fogt was serving his country in war. On Sunday, he was representing his country on the medal podium at the Olympic Games.

Full circle, indeed.

Fogt won his first Olympic medal on Sunday, helping the USA-1 sled driven by Steven Holcomb win the bronze in four-man bobsledding on the final day of the Sochi Games. Holcomb was entering the day with two Olympic medals in his collection already, and sledmates Curt Tomasevicz and St. John’s Prep grad Steve Langton had one apiece.

And while this ride was for the United States, the three other guys in the sled decided it was very much for Fogt as well.

“Chris and I have been teammates since 2007,” Langton said. “This was for him. He deserves it. He works his butt off and he’s one of the most talented guys on the hill. So to do that for him, I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Fogt is one of the most popular guys on the American team, with good reason. He toils in anonymity, as most push athletes do, and never complains. He rarely talks about himself. He served a yearlong tour in Iraq after the 2010 Vancouver Games and remains committed to the military, so much so that later this spring, he returns to the U.S. Army — even though he probably could lobby his way into remaining in bobsledding.

Maybe someday, he hopes, he’ll be back in the sled getting ready for 2018. For now, the Army calls the new medalist, who watched Langton and Holcomb win a two-man medal in Sochi last week and hoped he could get the same moment in four-man.

“I can’t be happier, to tell you the truth,” Fogt said. “It’s my first one. It was big for me. Watching Langton win last week, my teammate in 2010, my training partner, my roommate on tour every single week this year, to watch him win I was obviously very excited for him. And at the same time I was kind of envious, praying to the good Lord that I would get my chance. I’m just very elated to be here.”

Not long after getting the medal, someone handed Fogt a phone, and his wife was on the other end of the line. They chatted quietly for a few minutes, his eyes reddening.

On March 5, they find out if their looming baby will be a boy or girl. On May 5, he’s headed back to the Army. And he’s ready for both.

“It’s an exciting time,” Fogt said. “I’m about as happy as I can be.”

For the third time in four years and second in just a week, Holcomb snapped a 62-year drought inside the five rings. By finishing third in the four-man competition on Sunday and winning his second bronze medal of the Sochi Games, Holcomb became the first U.S. driver since Stanley Benham in 1952 — 62 years ago — to win two medals in the same games.

Holcomb won the first gold for the U.S. in four-man in since 1948 at the Vancouver Games four years ago, ending another 62-year barren run. Not long after having his second bronze placed around his neck, Holcomb was asked if he knew how long it had been since an American driver had snagged a pair of bobsled medals in the same games.

“Please say 62,” Holcomb said, flashing a smile. “It’s mind-blowing. It’s meant to be.”

So, it seems, was his third-place finish. Unable to catch Russia’s Alexander Zubkov, who became the first driver to win Olympic golds in two- and four-man for a host nation, Holcomb did just enough to hold off Russia-2 driver Alexander Kasjanov. It was the second time Holcomb had nipped Kasjanov on the Sanki Sliding Center track, both coming by 0.03 seconds.

“It was intense,” Holcomb said. “It came down to three-hundredths again, same guy. He hates me, I’m sure.”

Holcomb entered the third heat in fourth place, but jumped ahead of Germany-1 with a 55.30-second run, putting him into position to medal.

But after Kasjanov posted the fastest fourth run (55.21 seconds), the pressure was on Holcomb. As he made his way down the 17-curve track, his lead over Kasjanov was eroding quickly and USA-2 sledmates Justin Olsen and Johnny Quinn of McKinney, Texas could barely look at the TV monitors in the media mixed zone area. But when Holcomb crossed the finish line, and his medal was assured, Quinn and Olsen hugged in celebration.