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Bobsleigh at the 1932 Lake Placid Winter Games:

Men's Four

Bobsleigh at the 1932 Winter Games: Next Winter Games

Events:
Phases:

Host City: Lake Placid, United States
Venue(s): Mt. Van Hoevenberg Recreation Area, Lake Placid
Date Started: February 14, 1932
Date Finished: February 15, 1932
Format: Four runs, total time determined placement.

Gold: USA United States-1
Silver: USA United States-2
Bronze: GER Germany-1

Summary

As in the two-man event, a local team was favored for the victory. The "Red Devils" from Saranac Lake were captained by Henry Homburger, and featured Paul Stevens. His brothers, Hubert and Curtis, won the gold medal in the two-man event. The second U.S. bob was captained by the defending Olympic Champion, Billy Fiske. His crew consisted of J.J. O'Brien, silver medallist in 1928, Eddie Eagan, Olympic boxing champion in 1920, and Cliff Gray. Foreign opposition was expected from the German crews, but their training runs proved disastrous. Germany I, piloted by World Champion Werner Zahn, crashed out of the treacherous Zig Zag corner on 31 January, flying 50 meters through the air. Three of the crewmen were injured, and the bob was withdrawn. Two days later, the new Germany I, with Fritz Grau, also took off, landing in a trackside tree, leaving the crew severely injured. This left Hanns Kilian's sled, while the second sled was filled with Germans living in the United States - only their driver, champagne seller Walther von Mumm had prior bobsledding experience. The Belgians, too, were eliminated in the training runs, with the sled of Max Houben capsizing resulting in a dislocated shoulder and a damaged sled. Meanwhile, the American sleds were mysteriously absent, fiddling with their new sled runners.

Because of a thaw, the event start had to be postponed until 14 February, and it was in fact held after the closing ceremony. The delayed competition was planned to be completed in a single day, but the competitors protested and the third and fourth runs were held on the 15th. The first three runs were all won by Fiske's crew, creating a four second gap for the final run. The Red Devils took back some time in the final descent, but not enough to keep Fiske from his second consecutive title. Eagan's performance, a gold medal in both the Summer and Winter Olympics, has not yet been equalled by any Olympian. Fiske overcame a natural advantage held by Homburger, whose construction firm, Smith, Golder, & Homburger of Saranac Lake, had been enlisted by Stanislaus Zentzytzki, and Homburger consulted on the final design of the run, although it was eventually built by the firm of Leo A. Malone of Lake Placid.

Final Standings

Rank Team NOC Medal T
1 United States-1 USA Gold 7:53.68
2 United States-2 USA Silver 7:55.70
3 Germany-1 GER Bronze 8:00.04
4 Switzerland-2 SUI 8:12.18
5 Italy ITA 8:24.21
6 Romania ROU 8:24.22
7 Germany-2 GER 8:35.45