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U.S. Ends Bobsled Medal Drought

February 24, 2002

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PARK CITY, Utah (AP) _ The drought is over. The drought is over.

Todd Hays and Brian Shimer ended 46 years of Olympic frustration for the U.S. men’s bobsled team, driving to the silver and bronze medals in the four-man race Saturday.

The gold went to Andre Lange in Germany-2, an Olympic rookie who did not qualify for the country’s two-man team. He finished the four heats in 3 minutes, 7.51 seconds.

Hays drove his fire-engine-red USA-1 sled to second in 3:07.81 in front of a boisterous sellout crowd of 15,000, who believed that Utah Olympic Park had become a magic mountain for the United States.

Hays barely held off Shimer, who staged a stunning rally to win his first medal in his last Olympic race. He won bronze in 3:07.86, sliding past World Cup champion Martin Annen of Switzerland on the final run.

Hays burst into tears, just as he had promised, when it was all over.

The medals came five days after Jill Bakken and Vonetta Flowers won the inaugural women’s bobsled race.

The United States, a powerhouse in bobsled in its early days, had not won an Olympic medal in the four-man since Arthur Tyler took the bronze at the 1956 Cortina Games and had not won two medals since 1948 at St. Moritz.

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