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FAMILY OF STEVEN HOLCOMB RECEIVES OLYMPIC SILVER MEDALS IN HIS HONOUR

Late USA driver in two-man and four-man bobsleigh teams upgraded from bronze at Sochi 2014 after disqualification of Russian medallists

Two and a half years after his untimely death, the family of bobsleigh driver Steven Holcomb will receive two silver medals from Sochi 2014.

Holcomb piloted the USA two-man and four-man bob teams which finished third at the Games.

But they were promoted to silver in both events after Alexandr Zubkov, the driver of Russia’s original four-man and two-man gold medal sleds, was disqualified for doping offences with brakeman Alexey Voevoda also subsequently excluded.

Holcomb, who led his country to its first four-man title in 62 years at Vancouver 2010, died in his sleep at the Olympic training centre in Lake Placid in May 2017 aged 37.

Steven Langton, brakeman in the two-man and a pusher in the four-man, are also set to receive two silver medals at Tuesday’s Team USA Awards in Los Angeles with pushers Chris Fogt and Curt Tomasevicz collecting four-man silvers.

USA’s greatest bobsledder of his generation

A native of Park City, Utah, Holcomb started out as a ski racer before switching to sliding in his late teens.

He was originally a pusher and was part of Brian Shimer’s team ahead of the 2002 Games in his hometown of Salt Lake City before a hamstring injury at the worst time saw him replaced by Dan Steele.

Holcomb then switched to driving but there was a problem – his eyesight.

After laser surgery in 2000 had failed to make a difference, he was diagnosed with the incurable degenerative eye disease keratoconus which leads to the thinning of the cornea.

Deciding not to tell anyone, Holcomb wore hard contact lenses and ahead of Turin 2006 found that his sight was getting progressively worse to the point that he thought he could go blind.

In his autobiography, ‘But Now I See: My Journey From Blindness to Olympic Gold’, Holcomb admitted he should have said something sooner but that “because the only lengthy conversations I’d had about my disease had been with myself, I always came up with the most horrific scenarios for what would happen if I confessed now”.

Having managed to pass a vision test for international competition by memorising the letters on the eye chart, he took sixth place in the four-man bob and 14th in the two-man in his first Olympic Games.

But his eyesight soon deteriorated to the point that contact lenses were not up to the task making cornea transplants in both eyes, and four years out of the bob, the only feasible course of action.

Faced with that prospect, Holcomb’s already fragile mental health worsened and he attempted suicide by taking multiple sleeping pills washed down with bourbon whiskey.

Incredibly, he survived and decided to come clean about his sight issues.

His team-mates and coaches set to work and put him in touch with Calfornia doctor Brian Boxer Wachler who fitted special implants in 2008 which improved his vision markedly without surgery.

The procedure soon became known as the Holcomb C3-R.

Holcomb was able to return to the circuit and became world champion a year later at Lake Placid before securing his greatest triumph at the Vancouver Games of 2010, piloting the ‘Night Train’ – with pushers Tomasevicz, Justin Olsen and Steve Mesler – to gold.

Popular with his team-mates and bobsleigh crowds for his outgoing manner, and his ‘Holcy Shuffle’ dance, Holcomb built on his Olympic title with three golds at the 2012 Lake Placid World Championships – two-man, four-man and mixed team.

USA retained that mixed team title a year later before Holcomb headed to Sochi for his third Games.

Bronze medals in both the four-man and two-man saw Holcomb join Pat Martin as his nation’s most decorated Olympic bobsledder.

The next couple of seasons were not quite as successful, although Holcomb was ranked second in the 2016-17 two-man World Cup standings thanks in part to a victory over Canada’s subsequent PyeongChang 2018 two-man gold medallist Justin Kripps at Lake Placid.

He was still on course to pilot a Team USA sled at PyeongChang but in May 2017 his best friend, world champion skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender, broke into his room at the training centre in Lake Placid having not heard from him for two days and discovered his body.

Holcomb was later found to have alcohol and prescription sleeping tablets in his system having appeared to have passed away in his sleep.

His 60 World Cup, 10 World Championship and three Olympic medals made him one of the most decorated drivers in the sport’s history.

Medal reallocation from Sochi 2014

Six months after Holcomb’s death, Zubkov was stripped of his medals from Sochi 2014 for doping offences.

And in March this year, following the application of the Olympic Medal Reallocation Principles, the teams below Russia were promoted with Holcomb’s two-man and four-man teams upgraded to silver.

Langton, Tomasevicz and Fogt released a statement at the time saying, “It’s unfortunate that our results were not official in February of 2014 and that we’ve had to endure the long process to see justice finally served.

“We are happy that we now can celebrate and be proud of the silver medal accomplishments.”

Latvia’s four-man team, piloted by Oskars Melbardis, were upgraded to the nation’s first ever Winter Olympic gold medal with John Jackson’s Great Britain sled promoted from fifth to third with Russia 2 also disqualified for doping having been originally fourth.

Jackson said, “Disappointingly, it is a medal we should have received on an Olympic podium in 2014. Cheats have cost us that moment, along with other nations too.”

In the two-man, Switzerland’s Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann were awarded gold with Melbardis and Daumants Dreiskens taking bronze after Russia 2 were also excluded for doping.


Friday Night Baseball

The Hickory Crawdad’s, a Division of the Texas Rangers, honored the deBotech employees for their contribution to the Sochi Olympics with a great night of baseball… Lots of fun!

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deBotech assists Paralympic Alpine Skier, Alana Nichols….

In addition to the bobsleds and skeletons that deBotech helped to build, deBotech also partnered with BMW to develop a special sit-ski seat for 2014 U.S. Paralympic team member Alana Nichols. Nichols will use the seat to compete in the alpine skiing competition in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games which takes place starting March 8th.

As Hans said of Nichols, “She is a cool person and a true fighter. Everyone at deBotech will be cheering her on.”

Alana Nichols states in a recent article, “When I’m on a mountain and I’m sliding, I feel so free – one, because I get to move fast, and, two, because I get to be creative and move where I want and the mountain is sort of my canvass. It makes me feel alive because I can move at my own will…….But on a mountain and in a monoski, I feel very free.”
See full article @ http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2014/03/alana_nichols_a_former_alabama_1.html


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Mooresville business revels in success of Olympic bobsleds

Mooresville business revels in success of Olympic bobsleds

“Bobsledding is not a big money game,” he said. “But you can’t replace the aura around it, the feel good around it, people’s impressions of the Olympics. For one month of the year, we’re not talking about war. You see these athletes getting along, high-fiving, Russians, the U.S., China, Korea, Japan. Those are the true benefits to doing the work.”


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News 14 Interview with Hans deBot of deBotech, Inc., Mooresville, NC.

deBotech Inc. is a proud composite manufacturer for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.


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It takes a Village….

The old adage, “It takes a Village…”, applies when it comes to developing and building equipment for our USA Olympic Teams.  Read more about the team behind the team with our good friends and respected partners in developing the US Skeleton Pods for our Olympic Athletes.

http://www.newsrecord.org/news/campus/professor-helps-design-new-improved-sled-for-winter-olympics/article_c96bca00-91f7-11e3-ac9c-001a4bcf6878.html

 


dBt’s Olympic Role….

@FOX46 Carolinas unveils deBotech’s key role in the 2014 @The Olympic Games. Tune in to learn more http://www.myfoxcarolinas.com/story/24668218/olympic-bobsleds-coming-from-mooresville?clienttype=generic&mobilecgbypass.

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Skeleton’s John Daly hoping to continue Jimmy Shea’s Olympic legacy …..

“Everyone has a track that they click with and Sochi just fits with me,” Daly said. “On this track there is no hard steering and you let the sled sort of just ride.” By R.J. Rico, NBCOlympics.com

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Read article @ http://www.debotech.com/news/Skeletons-John-Daly-hoping-to-continue-Jimmy-Sheas-Olympic-legacy/59083


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On The Fast Track…

On The Fast Track..

CM-cover-jan-febHans deBot featured in Composites Manufacturing Online Magazine. January 2014…… Athletes in sledding events at the Winter Olympics hope new carbon fiber sleds will catapult them to the medal podium.  Press the link above to read more or visit www.debotech.com/news/ON-THE-FAST-TRACK/59063  

By Susan Keen Flynn 


Newly Revised Website…

Check out our newly revised, mobile friendly website @ www.debotech.com. Created by RacerSites and good friend, Chuck Tate.

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