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Sunday, February 22, 1998 Published at 07:53 GMT

Sport: Winter Olympics 98: Bobsleigh

Britain battle for bronze
image: [ The first British medal in Bobsleigh for 34 years ]
The first British medal in Bobsleigh for 34 years

Britain have won their first - and only - medal of the winter Olympic games in Nagano. The four-man bob team finished on the same time as France and both nations receive a bronze medal.

The team led by Sean Olsson are the first British four-man bob medalists since 1936.

[ image: Victory never looked in doubt for Germany 2 after quick early runs]
Victory never looked in doubt for Germany 2 after quick early runs
The driver of Germany 2, Christophe Langen, who had already won bronze in the two-man event, bagged his country's 12th gold in Nagano to underpin the Germans' position at the head of the overall medals table as his quartet timed 2minutes 39.41seconds over the three runs.

Switzerland 1, driven by Marcel Rohner, claimed the silver medal, clocking 2:40.01, 0.6sec back, as Sean Olsson's Britain and Bruno Mingeon's France 1 tied for the bronze 0.65sec adrift.

[ image: Britain made their fastest start in the last run]
Britain made their fastest start in the last run
Langen, the only driver ever to win both the two-man and four-man World and European Championship titles in the same year, a feat he achieved in 1996, had led Olsson's sled by 0.07sec after Friday's first run.

The French jumped from sixth after the second run to make the podium, while Christian Reich's Switzerland 2, third after the first run, slid back to miss out.

Driven to victory

As usual in bobsleigh, good driving won the race, and Langen learned the crucial subtleties of the sport, especially the deft touch needed to steer an 820kg sled down a chute of ice at more than 130kph (80 mph), from one of the best - Wolfgang Hoppe, the most decorated bobsled driver in history.

The defending gold medalist, 35-year-old Harald Czudaj, had difficulties on each run and finished a distant eighth in Germany 1, nearly a second behind Langen.

The British team were ecstatic when they saw a challenge from the United States fail and they knew that a bronze medal was theirs. The place on the podium will put a focus on a sport which has few participants in Britain but a great deal of history.

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