Matt Antoine, a U.S. skeleton racer for the U.S. Olympic team, won the bronze medal in his race on Saturday at the Sochi 2014 Games.

Matt Antoine Wins Bronze At Sochi

With his win, Antoine became the first U.S. Skeleton racer to medal in the Olympics since Jimmy Shea captured the gold in the event in 2002. After the fourth heat, Antoine finished with a combined time of 3:47.26. In first place was Russia’s Alexander Tretiakov (3:44.29), and in second was Latvia’s Martins Dukurs (3:45.10.)

"We've had the philosophy all season that you don't have to be perfect to be fast," Antoine said, according to USA Today. "(Friday), I tried to be a little too perfect. Today, the goal was to let it flow more and let the sled run."

Though he came in second, the end result of the skeleton race was a slight disappointment to Dukar, as the Latvian athlete has placed first in 24 of the last 28 World Cup races. This past season alone, he won six of the eight races. If he’d won on Saturday, he’d have become the first Latvian to earn a gold medal in a Winter Olympics.

John Daly's Bad Start

Also facing significant disappointment at the end of the skeleton race was Antoine’s friend and teammate John Daly. For the first three heats of the men’s skeleton competition, Antoine and Daly had been alternating in third and fourth place. On the fourth heat, however, Daly suffered a bad start that put him completely out of the running, finishing in 15th place.

"It was the most fun I've had in my career… until that fourth run,” Daly said in a post-race interview. On his fourth run, the blades on Daly’s sled jumped out of the grooves at the start. Daly blames only himself for the accident, and wishes he could have a do over. "It's all on my shoulders. But I do wish I had a second chance at that run, and I know I could've done well … I wish I gave myself a shot the last run. I feel like I didn't."

Though Antoine admits he feels terrible for his friend and training partner for the way he’s going out on this Olympics, he’s duly proud for what he’s accomplished. "I had a pretty good feeling I was home free, but you never really know until you see the clock. Once I saw it, it was pure celebration," Antoine said. "I'm still trying to process it all. This is definitely the best moment of my life."

– Chelsea Regan

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