February 22, 2010 in Sports

Lange stays perfect

German wins fourth gold in bobsled
Tom Withers Associated Press
 

WHISTLER, British Columbia – Andre Lange stepped out of his bobsled, flexed his muscles and mugged for the cameras.

Germany’s sliding star then held up four fingers.

Four for four. A golden grand slam.

Lange kept his perfect record inside the winter rings intact Sunday, winning the two-man competition to become the winningest pilot in Olympic history and increase the medal total for a country that has mastered the sliding sports like no other.

“Andre is the great one,” said Canada-1 driver Lyndon Rush. “They say the cream rises to the top, Andre Lange is the cream.”

With cropped hair he recently dyed blond – yep, golden blond – just for the Vancouver Games, Lange completed his four trips down Whistler Sliding Center’s wicked-fast track in 3 minutes, 26.65 seconds, .22 ahead of Germany’s Thomas Florschuetz (3:26.87), who won the silver. Russia’s Alexsandr Zubkov (3:27.51) won the bronze.

Lange has raced four times in the Olympics and won them all.

“When I started bobsledding 17 years ago, I would have never thought of such a victory,” Lange said. “If you told me I would win four gold medals, I would say, ‘You’re stupid.’ ”

Steve Holcomb of the United States finished sixth but wasn’t too worried about the result. He used the two-man as a tune-up for his best race, the four-man, where he’ll try to end a gold-medal drought dating to 1948 for the U.S. in his sled dubbed “The Night Train.”

To win, Holcomb will have to beat Lange, the man no one in the Olympics can catch.

“Andre is retiring,” Holcomb said, “so maybe he’ll start slipping us a secret.”

Doubtful.

Lange is the first driver to win four bobsled golds since the sport first slid into the games in 1924.

The 36-year-old, who has hinted at retiring after he competes in the four-man event here, came to Blackcomb Mountain tied with Meinhard Nehmer, who won three gold medals (1976, 1980) for East Germany.

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