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GBbob ace hit by stone from crowd.

GREAT Britain's fourman bobsleigh team narrowly avoided crashing after driver Lee Johnston was hit by a stone thrown from the crowd during their second run in Salt Lake City.

The Royal Marine commando complained he had been hit in the visor while the GBII team where hurtling down the track at around 80 miles per hour.

Although GB-II managed to complete the course, Johnston was visibly annoyed when he got out of the bob and Team GB officials immediately protested.

A spokesman for the British Olympic Association said:

"The British team appealed to bobsleigh officials and after studying video evidence, they accepted that an object had interfered with the British bobsleigh.

"They offered a re-run and GB-II accepted."

The re-run was not as good as the first effort, though, as GB-II slipped to 17th place with a combined time of one minute and 34.38 seconds.

GB-I, driven by Neil Scarisbrick, are in 13th place after their two runs in 1:34.14 - 0.88secs off the lead.

USA-I currently head the standings at 1:33.26, with Switzerland-I and Germany-II both at 1:33.35.

There are another two runs today to determine the medallists in an event which produced Britain's only podium finish at the last Winter Olympics in Nagano four years ago when GB-I claimed bronze.

Janica Kostelic set an Olympic record with her fourth alpine medal in one Winter Games' appearance and matching another by claiming her third gold.

The 20-year-old Croatian won the giant slalom at the Park City Mountain Resort with a two-run combined time of two minutes 30.01 seconds.

Anja Paerson of Sweden claimed the silver medal and Switzerland's Sonja Nef took the bronze.

No alpine skier had won four medal races in one appearance before Kostelic, who also claimed gold in the combined and slalom and won silver in the super giant slalom.

Hanni Wenzel (1980) and Rosi Mittermaier (1976) both won four, but the combined did not count as an Olympic competition, instead totalling the times of separate downhill and slalom races.

Kostelic also matched an Olympic alpine record by claiming her third gold medal.

Only the legendary JeanClaude Killy (1968) and Toni Sailer (1956) had done that before.

"I didn't expect four medals, " admitted Kostelic.

"I expected maybe one - in the combined. I was especially surprised about the superG and today."
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 23, 2002
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