Host City: Sochi, Russia
Venue(s): Sliding Center Sanki, Rzhanaya Polyana
Date Started: February 16, 2014
Date Finished: February 17, 2014
Format: Four runs, total time determined placement. Only the best 20 teams contest the final run.
The first half of the 2013-14 World Cup season, which consisted of an extended sweep of North American tracks, had been dominated by the US number one sled, piloted by [Steve Holcomb] but his success waned as the circuit reached Europe and the Swiss sled of 3-time Olympic medallist [Beat Hefti] emerged as the in-form team. By contrast, the top Russian sled with [Aleksandr Zubkov] at the helm had a consistent but not spectacular season but their entire efforts for the year were totally concentrated on the Sochi Games.
Zubkov and his crewmate, professional arm wrestling champion [Aleksey Voyevoda], used their extensive knowledge of the Olympic track to great advantage. The pairing set a track record on their 1st run to open up a lead that was expanded on in every subsequent run. This was achieved despite strong rumours that the two men had an antagonistic relationship. After bronze medals in 2006 and 2010, Hefti's Swiss sled moved up to silver in 2014 with Holcomb's US sled narrowly beating off the challenge of the 2nd Russian sled to claim the bronze medal. This was the first American medal in the event for 62 years.
A major talking point was the lack of performance of the German crews. Germany had placed a crew on the podium on every World Championship events in the years since the Vancouver Olympics but 2013-14 had slowly turned into a disaster for them. [Francesco Friedrich] had been World Champion 12 months earlier but he lost his fight against the technical inadequacies of his equipment and could only scrape a top ten finish. To add salt to the wound German car giant BMW were in partnership with the US team and designed the team's sleds.
The return of a Jamaican team to the Olympic arena gained much publicity with 46 year old [Winston Watts] making a comeback after missing the Torino and Vancouver Games.