Reuters - Wed, 24 Feb 10:10:00 2010
Germany's Andre Lange was quickest in the first official training runs for the Olympic four-man bobsleigh as minor changes to corner 11 took the sting out of Whistler's track.
Lange, who became the most decorated Olympic bobsleigh driver when he won the two-man competition for his fourth career gold, topped the time charts with 51.68 and 51.84 seconds - well down on the track record.
Steve Holcomb's so-called "Night Train", bidding to become the first American men's crew to win bobsleigh gold since 1948, were next fastest with a time of 51.72 on their first run and Russia's Alexandr Zubkov was third.
"There were no crashes today," Lange's long-time brakeman Kevin Kuske, who has three Olympic golds to his name, said. "The track is better than two-man. It was too complicated but I think's it's better now."
Lange can become the first man to win three consecutive Olympic golds in the four-man competition which concludes the Whistler sliding programme on Saturday.
Bobsleigh organisers met with team captains on Monday after drivers in the four-man raised concern over the shape of corner 11, the start of a section of the track where several crashes occurred in the two-man competition.
Course officials shaved an inch of ice off the corner and most crews seemed happy, including Canada's Lyndon Rush, who crashed in the two-man.
"I think the changes they made help you if you are on the wrong line so you don't crash," Rush, who had been a medal prospect in two-man, told reporters. "But if you're on the right line there's no difference.
"I'm just pleased to have a clean slate and not be down three seconds, that didn't feel good when you come to the track and you're down three seconds because you crashed the day before."
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