Harvard bobsledder Donald LaVigne '88-89 has been reinstated as a "participating member" of the United States Bobsled Team by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), lawyers for LaVigne announced yesterday.
LaVigne was cut from his position as a pusher on the alternate sled two weeks ago and replaced by Chicago Bears wide receiver Willie Gault. Although the Olympic coaches have said that Gault made the sledding team strictly on the basis of his better push times, LaVigne has contended that he was cut unfairly and was the victim of a "political" maneuver designed to bring the sport badly-needed publicity.
"As a full member of the American Olympic Team, Don has the same opportunity as all other members to train with and compete with the other members of the team," said Alan D. Rose '67, a Boston lawyer representing LaVigne.
However, a top official of the United States Bobsled Federation said yesterday that "it's not clear" whether LaVigne will be able to regain his position on the third sled. International Bobsled Federation rules limit participating nations to 12 athletes per team. With the IOC ruling, LaVigne became the 13th member of the U.S. team.
"Don was absolutely delighted, and he's excited to be in Calgary," Rose said. Rose said that LaVigne's teammates "really are glad to have Don back on the team."