The Winter Olympics is a series of outcomes determined by a matter of seconds. Any athlete on a stage this grand knows the value of time. Ask the Team Canada women’s hockey team, who battled from a 2-0 deficit with 3:30 left in the third period to tie the game and win the gold medal in overtime, what they think of the value of a few seconds. I’m sure they can give an opinion.
But perhaps the greatest game of seconds will come tomorrow in one of the last events of the 2014 Sochi games on the track at the Sanki Sliding Center in Rzhanaya Polyana where the four-Man Bobsled competition will commence with the event’s last two runs; a guaranteed nail biter.
As of right now, 0.17 seconds separates the top four bobsleds after the first two runs. The United States is in fourth, meaning tomorrow the team must find the way to make up for a time margin so small you miss it in the common blink of an eye.
Heading the American team is Steve Holcomb, the man looking to become the first in U.S. history to defend bobsledding gold. After Saturday it was apparent Holcomb knew the challenge ahead of him would not be an easy one: he will have to be perfect on each of the track’s 17 curves come Sunday. But those who have watched him over the years know this is the kind of challenge he is capable of overcoming.
Holcomb stormed into the bobsledding world in 2004 steadily climbing the ranks of American bobsledders until he was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition that left him learning to feel the track, rather than actually seeing it clearly. After various successful procedures Holcomb lead his team to the 2009 World Championship, the first win for the US since 1959, and to gold in the 2010 Olympics.
On Sunday Holcomb and his team, Chris Fogt, Steve Langton and Curt Tomasevicz, will have to give one of the best split second efforts in Olympic history to make the podium. But as Fogt reminded reporters today, with Holcomb at the helm — anything is possible.