Monday, February 18, 2002
Johnson expected to be ready for U.S. on Tuesday
PARK CITY, Utah -- Forget about Jean Racine and Jen Davidson
riding together in the Olympics.
A hamstring injury to brakewoman Gea Johnson created confusion
Sunday, as U.S. bobsled officials initially said Racine could be
reunited with Davidson, her former teammate and best friend. Racine
dumped Davidson from the USA-1 sled in December.
The U.S. Olympic Committee rejected any possible
reunion Sunday night, saying Davidson was not eligible because she
did not compete in the Olympic trials.
"If Gea Johnson is not able to compete as the push athlete for
Jean Racine, the only possible replacement is Bethany Hart," USOC
spokesman Mike Moran said.
Racine and Johnson took their third practice run down the Utah
Olympic Park Sunday night. They had another slow start (6.18
seconds), but Racine said, "we weren't going at all."
Racine said she was confident Johnson would be with her for
the race Tuesday.
"She's my girl," Racine said. "We're going for it."
Asked if she could envision any scenario in which she would have
to replace Johnson, Racine said, "absolutely not."
The pair was not going to practice Monday so Johnson could
rest up, Racine said. Johnson did not speak to reporters after
The head of the U.S. bobsled federation also said Johnson
appeared to be ready.
"Gea is competing. ... She looks good and she says she feels
good. At this point, there's no reason to speculate about why Jen
would be eligible," said Matt Roy, executive director of the U.S.
Bobsled and Skeleton Federation.
Earlier, Davidson said she would gladly push for Racine.
"I'll do whatever the team needs," said Davidson, who is in
Utah as a forerunner, checking out the course for the Olympic
Racine recruited Johnson, a former track and field heptathlete
who was suspended for four years for steroid use, to be her pusher
in December when the driver became dissatisfied with Davidson's
performances during the World Cup season.
Racine was widely criticized when she decided to fire Davidson
just two weeks before the Olympic trials. The two had won two world
championships together and were marketed together in television ads leading
up to the games.
Davidson filed a grievance against Racine in January, arguing
that she should have had a chance to try out for the U.S. team. But
she dropped it late last month.