LAKE PLACID — Codie Bascue learned plenty about driving from Steven Holcomb in their years together on the U.S. bobsled team.
And now he’s a winner in Lake Placid — just like Holcomb.
Bascue, a Whitehall native who had no medals in his first three years on the World Cup bobsled circuit, finished a spectacular opening weekend to this season with a gold medal in the two-man race Friday at Mount Van Hoevenberg. It completed a two-medals-in-two-days start to the year for Bascue, who reached a World Cup podium for the first time with a bronze Thursday.
“Today was for Holcomb,” said Sam McGuffie, who pushed for Bascue. “We have his name in the back seat of our sled. ... It’s really special.”
Bascue and McGuffie had the fastest runs in each heat, finishing the two runs in 1 minute, 51.73 seconds. Justin Kripps and Alexander Kopacz of Canada were second in 1:51.84, and Justin Olsen and Evan Weinstock of the U.S. took third in 1:52.13.
Bascue is the first American other than Holcomb to win a World Cup two-man race since 2009. Holcomb had given the U.S. each of its last 10 World Cup golds in that event, including last year in Lake Placid with McGuffie in his sled.
“I’m really proud of Codie,” said U.S. driver Nick Cunningham, who was fourth. “He had Holcomb on his mind all week. Olsen came through in the clutch as well. Overall it was a really great weekend for Team USA.”
Holcomb, the longtime leader of the U.S. bobsled program, died unexpectedly in his sleep in May.