US bob­sled, skele­ton and luge all on home ice this week­end

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

NEW YORK:

Home-ice ad­van­tage is real in slid­ing sports, and the US is hop­ing it rings true again this week­end. All three US national slid­ing pro­grams are host­ing World Cups start­ing Fri­day. The bob­sled and skele­ton tour is back in Lake Placid, New York - where tem­per­a­tures well below zero are ex­pected on Fri­day - and luge’s in­ter­na­tional sched­ule con­tin­ues in Park City, Utah, where Tucker West of the U.S. will aim for a third con­sec­u­tive win.

It’s the first time both World Cup cir­cuits have si­mul­ta­ne­ously been in the US since De­cem­ber 2013. “There re­ally is a home-track ad­van­tage for us,” said U.S. bob­sled driver Steven Hol­comb, who prob­a­bly has more runs on the track at Mount Van Ho­even­berg in Lake Placid than any­one else.

“If you go to any 100-meter track in the world, it’s 100 me­ters. If you race a mile, it’s a mile, wher­ever you are. Bob­sled­ding, it’s never the same from one track to an­other. It’s a huge ad­van­tage.”

That’s a big part of why West’s first two ca­reer wins were at Lake Placid, the track he knows best. Win­ning on other tracks, that’s a sign of be­com­ing a true in­ter­na­tional con­tender.

West pre­vailed in Lake Placid two weeks ago, then won in a one-run race last week­end at Whistler, Bri­tish Columbia. Train­ing and rac­ing for the en­tire week was con­densed to one day be­cause a ship­ment of sleds was de­layed nearly four days af­ter a mas­sive snow­storm snarled traf­fic.

Park City is a track where US team­mate Chris Mazdzer won the men’s sin­gles race last sea­son. “It’s kind of hard to put a fin­ger on what the se­cret sauce is,” West said. “Ob­vi­ously, Lake Placid is a track that I know and love. I’ve taken many runs there, so I’m com­fort­able there. Whistler, on the other hand, was just a crazy sit­u­a­tion for us.”

West is eighth in the World Cup luge over­all men’s stand­ings, sig­nif­i­cant be­cause he’s got­ten points in just two of the four races. He was dis­qual­i­fied from the sea­son-open­ing race in Igls, Aus­tria, be­cause he and his sled slightly ex­ceeded weight lim­its. By get­ting DQ’ed there, he was also inel­i­gi­ble to com­pete in the Sprint Cup race that same week­end.— AP

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