U.S. bobsledder banned from Salt Lake City Olympics after failing drug test

Sunday, January 27th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) _ U.S. bobsledder Pavle Jovanovic was disqualified from the Salt Lake City Olympics after failing a drug test.

The 25-year-old Jovanovic, of Toms River, N.J., tested positive for a steroid on Dec. 29, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Sunday.

Jovanovic, a pusher on the top four-man U.S. bobsled team, was tested during U.S. Olympic Trials in Park City, Utah.

``A doctor from the ADA testified that it was likely the result of contaminated supplements and that it would not have given him any competitive advantage,'' said Matt Roy, executive director of the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation. ``Pavle is currently investigating what his recourse is.''

A three-member panel of the American Arbitration Association will determine later how long Jovanovic will be suspended from the sport.

A replacement for Jovanovic was not announced immediately.

Jovanovic's disqualification comes only three weeks before the bobsled competition at Park City, and only a day before the deadline to submit names of athletes to the International Olympic Committee.

On Friday, a messy fight on the U.S. women's bobsled team ended when Jen Davidson withdrew her complaint against driver Jean Racine.

Davidson had protested when Racine abruptly replaced her a week before the Olympic trials in December, and she asked an arbitration judge to allow her a chance to make the team.

An arbitration hearing was conducted near the team's training site in San Diego.

``The athletes are back to training,'' Matt Roy, director of the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, said.

He added that the arbiter's decision would be written on Monday.