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Friday, February 20, 1998 Published at 10:04 GMT



Sport: Winter Olympics 98: Bobsleigh

Britain cashes in with silver position
image: [ Sean Olsson looked comfortable driving at 130kph, the fastest speed of the day ]
Sean Olsson looked comfortable driving at 130kph, the fastest speed of the day

Britain's four-man bobsleigh team are lying second after the first day of the men's competition in Nagano.


[ image: Britain picked up speed well after a poor start]
Britain picked up speed well after a poor start
Sean Olsson's crew moved into the silver medal position after the first run behind Germany's Christoph Langen before the second set of runs were cancelled because of pouring rain.

The race, which concludes on Saturday, will now be run over three runs rather than four.

Despite difficult conditions, Olsson's crew made a brilliant start of 4.83 seconds. The British took advantage of being the first bob down the ice to clock an impressive 52.77 on the tough Spiral track.


[ image: British team took advantage of going down the track first]
British team took advantage of going down the track first
Olsson was just 0.07 behind Langen who clocked 52.70 from start number nine. Swiss driver Christian Reich was third fastest with 52.88, 0.18 behind Langen. The decisive two runs take place on Saturday.

While Olsson drove a good line apart from a minor error at the top of the run, some of his main rivals struggled on the challenging track where every mistake is punished.


[ image: Fantastic start for Germany produced best time of day]
Fantastic start for Germany produced best time of day
Swiss Marcel Rohner, a pre-race favourite, hit the side several times on his run and could only clock 53.13. Germany's defending champion Harald Czudaj, expected to figure highly, was just 0.01 faster.

Both drivers finished out of the top six, according to provisional results.

Britain, which does not boast a single bob track, has not won an Olympic bob medal since 1964 when Anthony Nash won the two-man event.


[ image: One small mistake was easily corrected by Christoph Langen]
One small mistake was easily corrected by Christoph Langen
Their only other silver and bronze medals in the sport came in the four-man event in 1924 and 1936.

The last time the country won an Olympic gold medal at the Winter Games was at the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics when ice dancers Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean triumphed.

The British last had something to cheer in bobsleigh at the 1992 Albertville Games when Mark Tout led the two-man event after the first two runs. But Tout, who has since been banned for taking steroids, failed to win a medal.


 





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