Winter Olympics: Sixth place the ticket for Tout: Woe for Jamaican bobsledders

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The Independent Online
FOR the first time in Olympic history Britain finished with two crews in the top 10 of the two-man bobsleigh competition in Lillehammer yesterday.

Mark Tout and Lenny Paul pulled up two places over the final two runs to equal their sixth place at Albertville in 1992, with Sean Olsson and Paul Field, who started faster on all four runs, coming from the second group to finish joint 10th.

But it was the Swiss who served up the real drama as the defending champion Gustav Weder came from behind on the final run to snatch the gold medal by just five one-hundredths of a second from his compatriot Reto Goetschi.

Weder thus became the first driver to retain the Olympic two- man title, and could now join Meinhard Nehmer and Wolfgang Hoppe as the only double winners at the Winter Games if he also triumphs in next weekend's four-man event.

Tout was eighth overnight from the No 12 start on Saturday. But he moved up a place on his first run yesterday and clocked the sixth fastest final time of 53.24sec to finish only 1.34sec behind Weder.

'I was disappointed that a few crews took a chunk out of our starts,' the 33-year-old soldier said. 'But we had four stable runs without any obvious mistakes and that's ideal preparation for the former. If I can drive as well next weekend we'll definitely be in the medal hunt. It's been our strongest event all season and I'm more confident than ever now that we have a realistic chance.'

Olsson always faced an uphill struggle from the No 24 start to stay in the top 10 on his third run, but his final time of 53.46sec was good enough to clinch joint 10th place.

The Jamaican team were disqualified between the third and fourth runs because of the brakeman's stomach. The driver Dudley Stokes, the brakeman Wayne Thomas and their bob weighed in 8lb over the 860lb limit. 'Our brakeman's weight cycles up and down a lot,' Leo Campbell, the Jamaican bobsleigh federation president, said. 'We know that we erred in not managing it more closely. But it's a done thing and there is no point over-analysing.'

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