sport

Russia smash record in bobsleigh

Alexander Zubkov smashed the track record to steer hosts Russia to two-man bobsleigh Winter Olympics gold at the Sanki Sliding Center.

Zubkov and brake-man Alexey Voevoda stretched their overnight lead with a third run of 56.08 seconds when they returned to the track on Monday night.

And a fourth and final run of 56.49secs proved enough for Zubkov to take gold with a 0.66secs advantage over silver medallist Beat Hefti of Switzerland.

Hefti, a three-time former Olympic bronze medallist, finally upgraded to silver with two solid final runs to see off Steven Holcomb of the United States by 0.22 seconds.

Two-man World Cup winner Holcomb, who also won four-man gold in Vancouver in 2010, held off the second Russian sled piloted by Alexander Kasjanov by 0.03secs to take bronze.

Great Britain pilot Lamin Deen will turn his attention to the four-man competition later this week after finishing in 23rd place.

Deen shaved almost half a second off his previous run time as he came down his third run in 57.38 seconds, but it was not enough to make the cut for the fourth and final run, for which only the top 20 sleds qualify.

But both Deen and his brake-man John Baines believe their continued improvement over the two-man competition bodes well for when they join up with Ben Simons and another as yet unconfirmed team-mate in the GB2 sled for the four-man competition, which begins on Saturday.

Baines said: "Every time we have pushed together we have got faster and I think that shows great promise for the four-man. I think we will move up six to eight places. We're really confident and I think we're going to shock a few people."

Deen has made no secret of his preference for the four-man competition in which team-mate John Jackson and his GB1 sled will start as genuine medal contenders.

Deen said: "I prefer the four-man - it's a lot sturdier and it's like comparing a race car with a truck. I like the team spirit and how much more technical it gets - and it's a lot faster."

Deen was also celebrating winning a side-bet with the Australian and Jamaican crews over start-times.

In his fourth Olympics, Winston Watts steered the Jamaican sled down the track a full six and a half seconds behind Russian leader Alexander Zubkov after the third run.

Technically, Watts avoided finishing last due to the withdrawal of the Serbian sled after two runs.