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Aussies record personal best in day one of 4-man

24 February 2018

BOBSLEIGH: The Aussie 4-man bobsleigh crew have finished their opening two runs of the 2018 Winter Games in 24th place, recording their fastest runs down the PyeongChang track.

The fourth sled off the start line, the boys flew down the track in 49.72 seconds in their opening run as what felt like hundreds of Aussie fans cheered from the sidelines.

“Hearing the Aussie, Aussie, Aussie was really good. Yelling was really good, I was happy to have everyone there,” said pilot, Lucas Mata.

“Run 1 was tough, we did make a couple of mistakes and the ice was a little bit harder than our training runs.

“We had a good start draw, sliding in that fourth spot. We came down and I thought we were maybe going to sneak into the top 20, but we were just outside.”

Mata and his trio of brakeman – Hayden Smith, Lachlan Reidy and David Mari finished +1.18 behind the run one leaders, piloted by Germany’s Francesco Friedrich.

The Aussies then had a two-hour wait until their second run, but when the time finally came the boys in green and gold managed to deliver an even better performance.

“Being further back in the field is always going to be tough but the second drive was a lot cleaner than the first. I’m happy with that,” Mata said.

“We pushed pretty similar to the first run, so you can’t be upset with coming down like that. We’ve just got to come here tomorrow and fire even more.”

Friedrich managed to maintain his lead in run 2, finishing +2.08 seconds in front of the Australians, while home favourites Korea currently hold second place and another German crew finished the day in third.

Brakeman Hayden Smith and Lachlan Reidy were both pumped to finally make their Olympic debuts today with Reidy saying that it “feels the best. Happy to be out here.”

Smith echoed similar thoughts, saying the crew felt a strong Aussie presence at the start line.

“Yeah unreal it was so good up the top with all the Aussies up there cheering us on,” he said. 

The 4-man crew will look ahead to tomorrow’s third and fourth runs which will determine who stands on top of the Olympic podium.

“Push even faster, driver even faster – that’s our goal,” Mata said.

“I think the boys pushed really well today and I’m really happy with that – just need to come in here tomorrow even stronger.”

The Aussies will take to the start line again tomorrow with the third run kicking off at 9:30am. The 24th sled off, Mata, Mari, Smith and Reidy will race at approximately 10:20am (12:20pm AEDT).

Ashleigh Knight

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