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WINTER OLYMPICS : Notebook : Bumped Bobsledder Reinstated

February 11, 1988|From Times Wire Services

The bobsledder bumped from the U.S. Olympic team by the Chicago Bears' Willie Gault was reinstated Wednesday as a non-competing athlete, the coach said.

An arbitration hearing had been scheduled in Boston for alternate pusher Don LaVigne of Albany, N.Y. However, the meeting was postponed because an agreement was near.

"This puts an end to all the controversy," said Coach Jeff Jost. "The guy is coming here."

LaVigne had complained that he was dropped from the U.S. team improperly after Gault showed up in January at the end of the Bears' season. Gault, a former track star, is currently listed as a pusher on the third four-man team.

Jost, however, said it was possible Gault could move up to one of the two competing sleds, to be driven by Brent Rushlaw and Matt Roy.

"The drivers for the one and two sleds are set," Jost said, adding that third-team driver Randy Will could move up only with a significant improvement over the others in practice runs.

Andrew Linscott, a retired Massachusetts Superior Court judge, was to hear the case at the American Arbitration Assn. The session was postponed after LaVigne's attorney, Alan Rose, indicated progress was being made to settle the dispute, said association spokesman Richard Reilly.

"The U.S. Olympic Committee is pursuing whether he (LaVigne) can at this time be entered as a United States team member," Rose said in a joint statement with the USOC. "The U.S. Bobsled Federation is supporting this effort, which requires review by the international federation for the sport of bobsledding.

LaVigne, meantime, was told to go to Calgary while the USOC tried to determine if he could officially join the team.

Rose said the efforts on LaVigne's behalf "will not affect the participation of Willie Gault as a member of the U.S. bobsled team."

LaVigne thought he had made the team following the Olympic trials in October in Winterberg, West Germany. Gault, who was then involved in the NFL players' strike, did not participate.

Gault was added to the U.S. team after he and other alternate pushers were tested on a track in Igls, Austria, last month.

A Calgary clothing retailer went to great lengths to offer Soviet athletes a 25% discount on blue jeans. The newspaper ad was printed in Russian.

Mark's Work Warehouse spent about $4,000 for the ad, which appeared in a local newspaper. Blue jeans are difficult to obtain and expensive in the Soviet Union.

"Show your official Soviet Olympic team identification for a 25% discount on up to six pairs of Levi's," the ad read.

The ad intended to say that the store was "No. 1 in Levi's," which translated into the Russian equivalent of "First Class in Levi's." A typographical error made the word "class" unreadable in Russian.

"There's been 10 phone calls from Russians complaining about the typo in the ad," said Mark Gardner of Cooper Hayes Advertising.

Pirmin Zurbriggen of Switzerland clocked the fastest time in the first training run for the Olympic downhill.

Zurbriggen completed the Mt. Allan course in 2:02.64, more than a half-second faster than countryman Daniel Mahrer, who finished in 2:03.39.

Markus Wasmeier of West Germany was third, followed by Anton Steiner of Austria and Peter Mueller of Switzerland. The top American was Jeff Olson, who was 27th.

Thomas Jacob of East Germany posted the fastest men's luge training run, completing the course in 46.949 seconds. Second was Hansjorg Raffl of Italy (47.143).

A Calgary physician pleaded not guilty to charges of scalping Olympic hockey tickets.

Dr. Salim Mawani was the first person charged by Calgary Police under the Alberta province Amusements Act.

An undercover policeman said he bought six Olympic hockey tickets valued at $140 for twice that price.

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