CALGARY, FEB. 18 -- Annapolis resident Miroslav Zajonc, the luger who smashed his foot in a practice run in Lake Placid, N.Y., six weeks ago and is competing in a cast, said tonight he expects to finish in the top 10 in Friday's doubles luge competition "and if we have really good runs, top six, definitely."
Zajonc is still on crutches and has a five-inch pin jutting out from his heel.
He is wearing a special cast designed by 3-M that apparently has been given a seal of approval by the luge federation.
However, team manager Mary Ellen Fletcher said she fully expects a protest about the cast if Zajonc, a former world champion from Czechoslovakia who came to the U.S. in 1981, and his partner Tim Nardiello do well Friday.
"If someone does protest," she said, "then we will have to rely on the federation to stand by what they said three days ago."
Zajonc admitted that in three practice runs, he was leery about wearing the cast and concerned about reinjuring his foot. "But I am able to do it without any pain whatsoever," he said. "From today's training runs, I don't feel completely comfortable in the sled yet.
I need about five more runs; actually, what hurts is not having five weeks of training before the Games. But I'm happy to be competing. I didn't think that would be possible six weeks ago."
Zajonc and Nardiello finished 12th and 14th today in their two timed practice runs, well behind first-place East Germans Joerg Hoffmann and Jochen Pietzsch. The Americans were clocked in 1:33.224, the East Germans in 1:31.808 . . .
The Canadian minister of sports expressed regret to his Soviet counterpart today over suggestions the Soviets may be blood-doping their cross-country skiers.
Minister Otto Jelinek said he disassociated himself and the Canadian government from Canada cross-country Coach Matty Hall's allegations.
Hall implied earlier this week that Soviet domination of cross-country skiing could be due to blood doping, a procedure under which some of an athlete's blood is removed, stored, then reinjected before competition to increase oxygen-carrying capacity.