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Geek bobsledder leads after day 1

After two of four runs, Steven Holcomb has piloted the USA-1 bobsled into first place, putting Americans in position to end a 62-year-gold medal drought in the sport.

One of the world's fastest bobsleds heads down the track Friday at Whistler Sliding Center.
Ina Fried/CNET

WHISTLER, B.C.--American bobsled pilot Steven Holcomb, a master of sport and computers, put his four-man bobsled in strong position to win gold in Vancouver.

After two of four runs, Holcomb's USA-1 team leads by 0.4 seconds over Canada-1 and 0.44 seconds over bobsled legend Andre Lange, who is trying to be the first man to twice win the two-man and four-man events at the same Olympics.

Holcomb, who is a computer science major and Microsoft Certified Professional, has the U.S. two runs away from ending a 62-year gold medal drought in bobsled.

After the race, Holcomb said he was pleased. "It takes a little bit of pressure off tomorrow," he told reporters. But, he quickly added that he planned to go back to the tape to try to find a few more things to adjust. "We can still make some improvements," he said.

Fellow "Night Train" team member Steve Mesler said he was surprised the track stayed so fast as wet snow fell throughout Friday's runs. For his part, he just wants tomorrow to be a repeat of today. "We don't need to improve anything; we don't need to change anything," he told me. "We just need to do the same thing."

As for the team's plans for tonight, several members said they will play a little Rock Band, while Mesler said he would also catch up on Facebook and e-mail and "eat a lot."

Mesler and Holcomb both said they were aware of the several crashes from other teams, but said they just focused on the job at hand.

"There's TVs all over the start house," Holcomb said. "You can't let it get to you."

Mesler concurred.

"It is what it is," Mesler said. "It is a sport. It doesn't phase you."

The final two runs will take place at Whistler Sliding Center on Saturday and I'll be here again to cover them live.