CESANA PARIOL, Italy — Andre Lange said nothing on Saturday, when competitors from other countries wondered aloud whether the Germans were cheating. Sunday, after he'd driven Germany to victory in the two-man bobsled at the Winter Olympics, Lange told those rivals exactly what they could do with their complaints: They could kiss his gold medal.
"There are always people who make a big fuss over everything," Lange said through a translator. "At a certain point, I stop listening."
Lange and Kevin Kuske led the competition from the first run through the last, edging the Canadian duo of Pierre Lueders and Lascelles Brown.
The Swiss team of Martin Annen and Beat Hefti finished third, with the top American team of Todd Hays and Pavle Jovanovic seventh.
"You might be fourth versus 14th," Hays said. "It doesn't matter if you don't medal."
On Saturday, after a German newspaper had reported that the Germans had illegally treated their sleds so they would go faster, Lueders suggested the alleged misconduct would not be a first and said, "I'm getting tired of it."
U.S. Coach Brian Shimer said the German times were so fast that "you ... go, wow! Are they cheating?"
The U.S. and several other nations discussed on Saturday whether to protest. But there was no protest, according to Don Krone, spokesman for the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation.
Krone said such allegations were not uncommon in the sport and that the newspaper report appeared to have been sparked by a dissident faction of German bobsledders. He said the FIBT checked all sleds before competition and the medal-winning sleds after competition.
"So I really wasn't too worried," Lange said.
"The FIBT is very confident the sleds and materials used meet the rules and specifications," Krone said. "There's nothing out of the ordinary in this competition, which is even more scrutinized than the World Cup."
The rivals who challenged the Germans on Saturday were gracious in defeat Sunday.
"Right now, the race is over," Lueders said.
Hays said he would be "very surprised" if the Germans had used the so-called "hot runners" on their sleds.
"I don't think they needed hot runners to win," he said. "That's the best two-man team in the world. They deserve the gold medal."
Lange and Kuske were part of the German team that won the four-man bobsled competition at Salt Lake City. They'll defend their title here, in a field that includes a U.S. sled driven by Hays, with Jovanovic one of the pushers.
Driving snow fell here all day Sunday, slowing the track and making it virtually impossible for the U.S. duo to make up the time needed to contend for a medal. Even had the weather been fine, Hays said, he had almost no chance because he'd made a bad choice, picked the wrong runners for the first two runs Saturday, and because the team got off to poor starts.
"We got beat in virtually every aspect of the game," Hays said. "We don't really deserve medals."
The second American duo, Steven Holcomb and Todd Schuffenhauer, finished 14th.