Trying Time Ends for Olympic Bobsled Hopefuls
By Amy Shipley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 5, 1998; Page D3
The story of Oakton's Michael Kohn and his bobsled teammates did not have a happy ending yesterday, but the fact that team got to this weekend's Olympic trials in Utah was a minor miracle.
In a sled they had never seen before last Thursday a last-minute replacement for their sled, which burned in a Christmas Eve fire Kohn and his four-man bobsled team finished in fourth place in both Saturday's and yesterday's trials in Park City, Utah. Those finishes left the team's driver, Bruce Rosselli, in fourth place overall and out of Olympic contention. Kohn and his fellow side-pushers were not selected to compete in today's push-off and also will not be going to Nagano, Japan, in February.
Rosselli was in third place entering this weekend's four-man races and needed an incredible weekend to win one of the two U.S. team spots open this weekend for drivers. The team consisted of Paul Wise, Paul Javonovic and Kohn, a Chantilly High and George Mason University graduate. Brian Shimer, a three-time Olympian who received a bye for the trials, likely will be named the No. 1 driver for the U.S. team Tuesday. Jim Herberich, who finished second in the trials, and Todd Hays, the third-place finisher, also will land spots. Only two of the three actually will race in Nagano. Nine side-pushers will be named.
Just a week ago, the Rosselli team seemed unlikely even to compete in the trials. After returning to Park City on Christmas Day from a holiday break, the team discovered that its $30,000 four-man sled had burned almost completely in a fire that ripped through an auto body shop.
That began a frantic hunt for a replacement sled and an outpouring of donations and offers of assistance from around the nation. Nissan North America offered to foot the $30,000 price tag on a brand new sled.
The team located a sled similar to the burned one in Canada, and that one was shipped overnight to Park City. The team's mechanics stayed up for two consecutive nights making repairs to the sled in time for Saturday's 3 p.m. race.
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