By Keith Harrington
In 2018 residents of Whitehall and the entire area were clinging to their televisions and computers to watch local hero Codie Bascue compete at the Olympic Games in South Korea. Fans flocked to watch parties to cheer on their native son.
Bascue will compete in the Olympics once again next year, this time in Beijing. Last weekend he began his final preparation for the games with a solid finish in the opening race of the World Cup season.
Bascue placed fifth in the two-man event on Saturday and 14th in the four-man event Sunday in Igls, Austria.
Bascue and Carlo Valdes finished fifth in the two-man bobsled race on Saturday. Bascue and Valdes had the second fastest time in the first heat and his finish is Bascue’s personal best two-man result.
“This is Codie’s best finish on European soil, and I was certainly proud of him and really excited for him to be in second place after the first run,” said USA coach Brian Shimer.
Bascue’s personal best two-man finish on the Austrian track previously was seventh, and his best two-man finish on a European track was sixth in St. Moritz, Switzerland during the 2018 Olympic season.
“We went into this weekend feeling confident after some good training runs in training,” Bascue said. “Carlo and I have a good synergy, and we’ve been pushing together for a while, so it was great to race with him today. I was really excited about the possibility of getting a medal, but I’m still happy with the result.”
Bascue and Valdes started their campaign for the medals with the seventh best start time of 5.14 seconds. Bascue continued to find time down the track, and the team crossed the finish line with the second fastest downtime of 51.61 seconds. Reigning world champion Francesco Friedrich and Alexander Shueller of Germany were the only team that was faster.
Bascue and Valdes pushed off the block in 5.15 seconds, but the sled veered to the right out of the initial corner. Small mistakes were enough in a tightly packed field to bump the Americans out of the medals with a run of 52.00. Bascue and Valdes finished fifth with a combined time of 1:43.61.
“The guys have come into this season the best I’ve seen, and it’s because of ice house in Lake Placid,” Bascue said. “Our start today was part of the reason we did well, and I think we owe part of that to the ice house. Both U.S. men’s teams are going to be surprising people all season.”
On Sunday Bascue teamed with Blaine McConnell, Carlo Valdes and Jimmy Reed for a combined time of 1:42.39 for 14th place. The squad posted start times of 5.09 and 5.10 seconds for runs of 51.12 and 51.27 seconds, respectively.
“We had a solid start to the season! Fifth on Saturday in 2-man (in the hunt for medals) and then 14th yesterday in 4-man,” Bascue said via Facebook. “This is only the beginning. This team is hungry, and we want more. It’s a solid start, but it can always be better! Looking forward to another week here in Igls.”
Bascue and Team USA were set to compete at Igls again for the second week in a row before moving on to Altenberg, Germany.