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Germany Wins 4 Man Bobsled, US Ends 46 Year Medal Drought in the Event - 2002-02-24

Germany's four-man bobsled team has won the gold medal in the Winter Olympics in Park City, Utah. The German's edged two U.S. sleds, which gave the United States its first Olympic medals in the event since 1956.

Andre Lange drove the Germany two sled to the gold medal, but his victory was largely overshadowed by the storybook endings of the American sleds.

Lange was tied for second when the day began, but the German driver finished with a total time of three minute, seven-point-five one seconds, just 3/10ths of one second ahead of the U.S. Sled driven by Todd Hays. American Brian Shimer, a 39-year-old, five-time Olympian competing in his last race, won the bronze medal.

Afterwards, Lange, speaking through a translator, said that his team was relieved and proud that it beat the Americans. "These were fantastic games here in Salt Lake City," he said. "And of course I and my team we are very proud that we were able to compete here and we were able to win."

Todd Hays had led the competition until Lange's final run, but his performance gave the U.S. team its highest finish since 1952. Hays said that winning the medal was great, but he got more satisfaction out of teammate Brian Shimer winning a medal. "We are really happy with the silver, I can assure you that much," he said. "And to see Brian Shimer five Olympics, the last run of his life and pulls off the fastest run of the Olympic games here and battles back to win the bronze, if that is not storybook I do not know what is."

Until Saturday, Brian Shimer's Olympic bobsled career had been one of frustration. His sled was disqualified from the 1994 games because its runners were too warm. He missed the bronze medal four years ago by 2/100th of one second. But Saturday, an emotional Shimer said he could now retire happy. "I can not say enough. This is a fairytale ending for me. You know Todd said to me " could you think of a better way than this?" I was like "Yeah beating you". But I could not ask for anything better. I can't think of a better way to end my career here on American soil," he said.

For Shimer and Hays, the medals are an historic achievement, the last time a U.S. bobsled won a medal in the four-man event was in 1956.