Arndt, who won bronze last week in two-man, and his crew of Alexander Roediger, Kevin Kuske and Martin Putze slid second. They brushed a wall at the top, nearly flipping, and trailed by 0.05 as they were just getting started. The momentum that was lost at the top began to show on the clock, and the sled finished in 54.12 to fall 0.21 behind.
Machata fared even worse. Trailing Holcomb by 0.28 to start the day, he lost 0.11 at the top on a sloppy third run, was nearly a half-second behind midway down, and finished in 54.25 to fall 0.61 behind.
Even World Cup champion Alexsandr Zubkov of Russia was no match. He was fourth entering Sunday's heats, 0.43 behind, dropped a third of a second on the third run and finished 1.28 seconds behind in fifth, passed on the final run by Edwin Van Calker of the Netherlands.
"This is an intimidating track to start with, even for the Americans," Holcomb said. "There was a 20-degree (temperature) difference and that makes it harder, which makes it slippier, and then you get less control on a track that's already kind of out of control and crazy. Less control is even more intimidating. It's kind of where the home track advantage came in. I've been down this track a million times."
Between heats on Sunday, Holcomb did what he always does, letting the world know what was on his mind: "Solid first run. Need to relax, stay focused and do it one more time. Let's bring it home!" he tweeted.
He did just that with a 4.95-second push and a run of 53.99 seconds. USA-1 was the only sled to go under 54 seconds in the two days of competition.
"Not enough to win the gold medal," Arndt said. "He (Holcomb) did a good job today. His brakemen push him so hard at the top of the track. Good drives, so he's the best today."