Host City: Vancouver, Canada
Venue(s): Whistler Sliding Centre, Whistler
Date Started: February 20, 2010
Date Finished: February 21, 2010
Format: Four runs, total time determined placement. Only the best 20 teams contest the final run.
Swiss hopes of success were high as the teams arrived in Vancouver. World champion Ivo Rüegg had succeeded compatriot Beat Hefti as World Cup winner and the two men had provided a Swiss presence on the podium at every preceding race of the 2009-10 season.
Multiple Olympic champion André Lange of Germany arrived to defend his two man title on the back of a brace of victories earlier in the year whilst his teammates Thomas Florschütz and Karl Angerer had both outperformed Lange in the early part of the season and were the beneficiaries of a change in qualifying rules which allowed three crews from some of the top nations to compete instead of the traditional Olympic quota of two.
With Canadian authorities limiting the number of runs available to foreign teams to the minimum required under Olympic regulations the home crews of Pierre Lueders and Lyndon Rush, with more experience on the track than any of the other teams, were also tipped to do well. In addition Rush had tied for victory with Andre Lange at the similarly high speed Sankt-Moritz track in January.
Veteran former medallist Todd Hays of the United states, returning after an absence from the sport, surprised many by placing second in the opening race of the season but his dreams of a fourth Olympic Winter Games came to an end in his very next race. A crash at the Winterberg track in Germany resulted in a cerebral haemorrhage and his immediate retirement from the sport.
The death of luger Nodar Kumaritashvili and the inevitable scrutiny about the safety of the track resulted in a few minor modifications of the course but there were still a number of accidents during the training runs. One of these crashes left Beat Hefti with a concussion and the Swiss slider was forced to withdraw from the event.
An explosive start to the event occurred when the Switzerland I bobsleigh of Ivo Rueggand Cédric Grand, off first, broke the track record with a time of 51.76, followed immediately by the Germany II bobsleigh of Thomas Florschütz and [Richard Adjei] that also set a new track record of 51.57. However André Lange and Kevin Kuske, in the Germany I bobsleigh and aiming for a record 4th gold medal in the sport, finished just 0.02 seconds behind their compatriots after the first run. The Germany I and II bobsleighs then posted the fastest times of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th runs, in that order, to finish with the gold and silver medals. Taking the bronze medal were the Russia I team of [Alexsandr Zubkov] and Aleksey Voyevoda , who had been 5th after the first run, but then placed 3rd in each of the remaining three runs.
André Lange’s fourth successive Olympic gold again proved that his consistency of performance was unequalled. The final run of the event, his 16th in Olympic competition, was the ninth time he recorded the fastest time of the run. Only once in those sixteen performances had he placed outside the top three.
Four teams crashed out of the competition although thankfully there were no serious injuries. The fifth team to fail to finish were Italy I who were the victim of an error that saw them weigh in at below the minimum weight limit.