Pavle Jovanovic
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Pavle Jovanovic, Olympic bobsledder, dies at 43

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Pavle Jovanovic, a 2006 U.S. Olympic bobsledder, took his life on Sunday. He was 43.

U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton confirmed Jovanovic’s death on Saturday. A number of U.S. bobsled team members remembered him on social media.

“Pav, I can’t believe another one of these needs to be written,” was posted on Olympic teammate Steve Mesler‘s Instagram. “I can’t believe it’s you I’m writing this about. My personal legend – the athlete that set the standard for focus, dedication, meticulousness, and drive – tragically took his own life at the age of 43.”

Mesler wrote that Jovanovic was the best bobsledder on the planet for six years, “and I wanted to be just like him.”

Jovanovic, after missing the 2002 Olympics due to a contested positive drug test, placed seventh in the 2006 Olympic two- and four-man events as a push athlete in driver Todd Hays‘ sled.

A year earlier, Jovanovic was a push athlete in Steven Holcomb‘s sled at the world championships. Holcomb was found dead in his U.S. Olympic Training Center room in Lake Placid, N.Y., on May 6, 2017.

“Today we mourn the second bobsled Olympian in the last three years,” Mesler wrote. “Today I mourn the second of the six men I competed at the Olympics for my country with to be laid to rest too soon. ‘Bro’, that’s a problem.”

In 2002, Jovanovic missed the Olympics after testing positive for a banned steroid less than two months before the Salt Lake City Winter Games. He was suspended two years. Jovanovic insisted he unknowingly took a contaminated supplement and sued the manufacturer.

Mesler was put on the 2002 Olympic team in Jovanovic’s place, according to reports at the time, and later lived with Jovanovic in a Calgary house. Hays’ quartet earned silver without Jovanovic in Salt Lake City, the first U.S. men’s bobsled medals since 1956.

Jovanovic’s parents were from the former Yugoslavia. He first saw bobsled watching the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Games on TV and played middle linebacker for Rutgers before becoming a bobsledder.

“I only was on the team with Pavle for a short time but while I was, it was never a dull moment,” was posted on three-time U.S. Olympic bobsled medalist Elana Meyers Taylor‘s Instagram. “He was one of the first bobsledders who showed me how to be elite. RIP Pavle.”

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Pav, I can’t believe another one of these needs to be written. I can’t believe it’s you I’m writing this about. My personal legend – the athlete that set the standard for focus, dedication, meticulousness, and drive – tragically took his own life at the age of 43. You won’t have to keep going to the line with that hamstring torn in half anymore, buddy. We’ll make sure your brother, your sister, & your parents know the person and athlete you were. @TeamUSA's Pavle Jovanovic (‘77-‘20) for 6 years was the best bobsledder on the planet and I wanted to be just like him. We did everything together – from sushi in Calgary to poker in Innsbruck to wind tunnels in Maryland and too many World Cup medals to count all over the world. Together with @billschuffenhauer, B-Rock, Hays or Holcy & our coach @fingermash, we were unstoppable. When Pav was removed from the ‘02 Olympic Team by USADA & CAS, I benefitted. That guilt laid with me until Pav became my roommate, teammate, and for quite some time, my best friend. He alleviated me of the guilt, even as he fought in lawsuits (and won) to clear his name. But he buried it deep and put it on himself. Then we went to the '06 @olympics, together. Pav was the best teammate anyone ever had. He knew your success would mean his success. He taught me that. He taught me to care about my teammates' sleep, nutrition, therapy, & work ethic in the gym and behind closed doors just as much as you cared about your own. He taught me about the need for being mentally healthy – not for life, but for athletic success. And that may have been part of his downfall. What happens when the person who is best known as being 150% focused or nothing– finds the nothing becoming what they become 150% focused on? In the last era without social media to show everyone how hard you were working everyday; when the only time an outsider saw the work you put in was when you stepped to the line for raceday – Pavle was King. He WAS the standard. Today we mourn the second bobsled Olympian in the last three years. Today I mourn the second of the six men I competed at the Olympics for my country with to be laid to rest too soon. 'Bro', that’s a problem.

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World Alpine Skiing Championships on for 2021 after request to delay rejected

Alpine Skiing World Championships
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GENEVA (AP) — A request by the organizers of next year’s skiing world championships in Italy to postpone the event by one year was rejected Thursday by the International Ski Federation.

FIS ruled that the event will go ahead from Feb. 9-21, 2021, in Cortina d’Ampezzo — the highlight of an Alpine season that faces challenges to find safe protocols for international travel and attending races in Europe, North America and China.

The Veneto region of northern Italy was hit hard by the coronavirus and the season-ending World Cup races in Cortina in mid-March were canceled. That week-long event was to be a test for the 2021 worlds.

“The last month of efforts to come to this solution demonstrates the strong collaborative spirit of the ski family and stakeholders.” FIS president Gian-Franco Kasper said.

Organizers in Italy have said they expect losses of about 30 million euros ($34 million) if the worlds are also canceled. They asked for a postponement to March 2022, which would be only weeks after the Beijing Olympics.

“But we will be ready in any case and we will show that these world championships can change the history of a region despite the current difficulties,” Alessandro Benetton, president of the Cortina organizing committee, said in a statement.

Italian racer Sofia Goggia, the 2018 Olympic downhill champion, said she was “happy for Cortina because it will host the first major international event after the coronavirus epidemic.”

Cortina, which hosted the 1956 Olympics, will co-host the 2026 Winter Games with Milan and use the worlds as a showcase for the resort.

The women’s World Cup downhill on the Olympia delle Tofane course each January is one of the most scenic in the sport with a signature jump between tall outcrops of jagged rock.

The Dolomites venue was awarded the 2021 worlds by FIS after missing out as a candidate four straight times from 2013-19.

MORE: Anna Veith retires, leaves Austrian Alpine skiing in unfamiliar territory

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Russia track and field athlete clearance frozen due to unpaid fine

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MONACO (AP) — The program allowing Russian track athletes to compete internationally will be frozen because the country’s federation failed to pay a fine on time, World Athletics said Thursday.

The Russian track federation, known as RusAF, owes a $5 million fine and another $1.31 million in costs for various doping-related work and legal wrangles. World Athletics said RusAF missed Wednesday’s deadline to pay.

World Athletics said it would freeze the work of the Doping Review Board, which vets Russian athletes who want the “authorized neutral athlete” status that allows them to compete internationally, and its taskforce monitoring RusAF’s anti-doping reforms.

World Athletics said both bodies will be “put on hold” until its council meets to discuss the situation at the end of July.

“RusAF is letting its athletes down badly,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said in a statement. “We have done as much as we can to expedite our ANA process and support RusAF with its reinstatement plan, but seemingly to no avail.”

RusAF president Yevgeny Yurchenko earlier told the Tass state news agency that his federation’s finances were damaged by the coronavirus pandemic and that it had asked for more time to pay.

World Athletics’ statement didn’t directly address that issue, but said Russia hadn’t indicated when it would pay.

Russia was fined $10 million by World Athletics in March, with $5 million suspended for two years, after the federation admitted to breaking anti-doping rules and obstructing an investigation.

The Athletics Integrity Unit said fake documents were used under the previous management to give an athlete an alibi for missing a doping test.

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