Bobsledding is definitely one of the more exciting and intriguing sports at the Winter Olympics. It combines speed, power and finesse better than arguably any other sport on this stage.
The first two heats of the men's two-man event took place on Sunday, with 30 teams racing through the 17-turn course at extraordinarily high speeds.
The story of the event was the Jamaican team. After qualifying for the event resulted in the squad making headlines, its actual performance in Sochi was disappointing to say the least. They finished 30th overall.
Here's a look at the top 10 finishers after two heats of the men's two-man event, along with what to watch for on Monday when the event concludes.
|1||Russian Federation 1||1:52.82||-|
|3||United States 1||1:53.18||+0.36|
|5||Russian Federation 2||1:53.29||+0.47|
The story of the first heat had to be the Canadian teams. Canada entered three teams in the event, and after one heat, they were in sixth, seventh and 10th, respectively. The team of Bryan Barnett and Justin Kripps (Canada 3) paced their fellow countrymen in posting their best time of the initial runs.
Another big story came out of the United States, who owned the second- and third-fastest times after one run. Steven Holcomb and Steven Langton (United States 1) finished as the best U.S. pair.
The Russians were stellar in the first run, finishing with the fastest overall time (56.25; Russia 1). They set the time record with that run, and it set them up for a strong finish in the second run.
Barnett and Kripps once again put together a strong run for Canada 3 in the second heat. It's that type of consistency that is going to make them a threat to win the gold on the second day of action.
You can be sure that they'll stay focused, too. After winning the World Cup bobsleigh title in Germany, Kripps told the Canadian Press (via TSN) about advice he had received from Canadian competitor Lyndon Rush: "Lyndon pulled me aside and said 'Anytime trophies, medals, victories or anything gets in your head slap yourself and focus.'"
It's that mentality that will keep them in podium contention.
What to Watch For
The event will continue on Monday with the final two rounds, culminating in the medal ceremony shortly thereafter. Several pairs are within striking distance of the podium after two heats. As a result, the final rounds promise to be exciting.
Which nation will win the gold?
The United States, Canada and Russia figure to be in competition for the podium. Each country has at least one pair that has posted a strong time, and it will come down to time differences smaller than seconds to determine the final standings.
One particular team to monitor is United States 1 (Holcomb and Langton). They won the World Cup two-man event back in December, essentially making them the odds-on favorites for gold in Sochi.
That being said, Russia 1 will be hot on their tails. Alexander Zubkov and Alexey Voevoda comprise the nation's best pair, and they'll be doing their best to capitalize on even the smallest of miscues that the competition might make.
In an event defined by minuscule mistakes, look for the team that makes the fewest errors to reign supreme on Monday.