Host City: Salt Lake City, United States
Venue(s): Utah Olympic Park, Park City, Utah
Date Started: February 16, 2002
Date Finished: February 17, 2002
Format: Four runs, total time determined placement.
Germany’s Christophe Langen entered the Olympic year as the world champion in both the two-man and four-man event. His main rivals for the title were Nagano champion Pierre Leuders of Canada, the two World Cup winning Swiss sleds of Martin Annen (2001) and Christian Reich (2000) and the fast improving USA I bob driven by Todd Hays who enjoyed home advantage on the Park City track.
Langen, who had won everything the sport had to offer except the Olympic two-man title, had not contested all of the season’s World Cup races but had shown sparkling form in those in which he had raced, with three wins and a second place from his four outings.
The first blow was struck by Reich in Switzerland I when he opened a tiny advantage of 0.02 of a second ahead of Langen in the first run with Switzerland II the same margin behind the Germans in third. As the second Swiss bob slipped a bit further back with each run, the gap between the two leaders closed by a hundredth on both the second and third runs until the two teams were absolutely level with only the final run to go. Langen and last-minute substitute brakeman Markus Zimmerman could not match the Swiss start times throughout the competition and the final run was no exception. The Swiss advantage was a clear one at the top of the run but Langen’s driving made up for the relatively poor start and he gradually gained the time required to clinch gold. At the finish he was 0.09 faster than Reich on the final run and in the overall standings. The second string Swiss crew denied the home crowd an American medal by finishing just 0.03 ahead of USA I with defending champion Leuders of Canada back in fifth.
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