Zubkov and Voevoda raise the bar again to claim gold in the two-man bob
Russia's Alexander Zubkov and Alexey Voevoda built on their first-day lead in the two-man bobsleigh to claim Olympic gold at the Sanki Sliding Centre.
Zubkov, the 2011 world champion and Vancouver 2010 bronze medallist, produced two more consistent races to clock a combined time of 3 minutes 45.39 seconds, finishing 0.66 seconds ahead of Swiss pair Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann, who took the silver.
Zubkov now boasts a full set of Olympic bobsleigh medals. He and Voevoda both featured in the Russian quartet that won silver in the four-man at Turin 2006.
Going into the second day of competition, the Russians had built a lead of 0.32 seconds after their two opening runs.
And in the third run they increased the pressure on their rivals by setting a new Sanki Sliding Centre track record of 56.08 seconds, putting them beyond reach in the final run.
Hard work pays off
“Today we just did our work on the track and were not thinking about the time we will show,” said Zubkov.
“We were completely concentrated on going the right way. And it paid off as we did our work right.”
“The battle with one’s own weaknesses always produces the best result,” added his brakeman, Voevoda.
Hefti, a double bronze medallist for Switzerland in the two- and four-man bob at Turin 2006, where he competed as a brakeman rather than a pilot, was delighted to have added a silver to his Olympic medal collection.
“This was our dream and it came true and now we're more than happy,” he said, before paying tribute to the man who beat him to the top of the podium.
“Our third run wasn't good but we managed to improve our sliding in the fourth and won the silver medal, while Alexander [Zubkov] produced four perfect runs and deservedly won the gold.”
Great races, tough races
Meanwhile, US pilot Steve Holcomb, who was part of the quartet that won the four-man event in Vancouver, and who, with brakeman Steven Langton, lay third after the first day in Sochi, held onto third to claim bronze with a combined time of 3 minutes 46.27 seconds.
It was the first Olympic medal of any colour won by an American sled in the two-man in 62 years.
“I'm very happy as today there were great races, very tough races,” said the US pilot.
“We started to understand this track, how it works, what things to do to go down fast. And there's going be another battle in the four-man event,” he added
“I didn't feel any pressure being in the position for winning the medal as I've been in such a situation many times before. I was just doing my work like hundreds of times before.
“But it's good to win an Olympic medal… any medal.”