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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, January 17, 2010

Olympics: Kohn clinches 4-man bobsled spot on U.S. team


By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Sports Writer

Mike Kohn of the United States has secured a four-man bobsled spot at the Vancouver Olympics, after finishing sixth in a World Cup race at St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Kohn's result on Sunday means the Americans will have three sleds in the Olympic four-man competition, with Steven Holcomb and John Napier having already secured enough points to mathematically wrap up bids that will be formally announced later Sunday by the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation. The USBSF said Sunday that Kohn had enough points to clinch his trip.

Kohn earned a spot in the two-man Olympic competition on Saturday, also giving the U.S. the maximum allotment of three sleds in that discipline. The USBSF took 14 of a possible 15 Olympic start positions in bobsled and skeleton.

Kohn won a bronze medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics as a push athlete in Brian Shimer's four-man sled.

"Winning an Olympic medal was amazing, but it doesn't compare to the team camaraderie felt over these last few weeks," Kohn said. "The Olympics is about more than winning medals, and this experience is one I'll remember for the rest of my life."

Indeed, getting a third sled into the Olympics for the U.S. was a team effort.

Kohn contemplated retirement when he wasn't on the World Cup team to begin the season. He was summoned back to the top international circuit midway through the schedule, after veteran and Olympic hopeful Todd Hays retired following a training crash that left him with bleeding within his brain.

So Kohn was in a race against time, trying to get the world ranking points needed to qualify in both two- and four-man competitions. Getting plenty of help from other U.S. bobsledders Hays included along the way, Kohn climbed far enough in the standings to reach Vancouver.

"I can't thank Todd enough for his help and support over the last few weeks in helping our team," Kohn said. "He's been a huge part of my success."

Two-time defending Olympic four-man champion Andre Lange of Germany drove to his third straight World Cup gold medal Sunday, winning the two-run event at St. Moritz in 2 minutes, 10.13 seconds. Karl Angerer drove another German sled to second, just ahead of the Russian sled piloted by Alexsandr Zubkov.

Holcomb's team was fourth, and Napier's sled was 11th on Sunday.