Four-man bobsleigh requires explosive power from a standing start and the precise steering of a Formula One driver. Thankfully for Andre Lange he had both in abundance.
Lange was relatively late to the party when he made his Olympic debut at the age of 28, but he more than made up for lost time with a string of results that were to propel him to a position where many regarded him as the finest pilot of his generation.
His remarkable run in Olympic competition started at the Utah Olympic Park in a German quartet that never looked like losing their grip on gold.
Alongside Enrico Kuhn, Kevin Kuske, and Carsten Embach, Lange’s team initially trailed the American crew led by Todd Hays, but a stunning third run gave the German quartet a 0.27 second lead going into the final and decisive descent.
As the snow gently fell from the dark skies, the four stood at the top of the track with a steely focus knowing that their significant lead could go with one inaccurate piece of alignment down the twisting track.
They got off to a blistering start and Lange maintained the perfect driving line throughout, eventually winning by three tenths of a second.
Hays’ quartet looked on at the TV monitors more in hope than expectation but were the first to congratulate the jubilant German crew.
Lange would go on to do the two-man and four-man double at the 2006 Games in Turin and then bowed out by narrowly missing out on the two-man gold in Vancouver in 2010.