David Epstein
Friday February 26th, 2010

WHISTLER, British Columbia -- Bill Schuffenhauer, a pusher for the USA 3 bobsled, which starts four-man competition Friday, was detained and questioned by Canadian police Wednesday night.

Neither officials from the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation nor local police nor Schuffenhauer's teammates would comment publicly on the nature of the incident that led to Schuffenhauer being detained, but a source familiar with the incident told SI that Schuffenhauer was away from the athlete's village and involved in an argument late last night. Darrin Steele, CEO of the USBSF, said that Schuffenhauer was detained around 11:30 p.m. and spent two to three hours at a police station where he was questioned but not arrested or charged. "They wanted to ask him some questions, so they brought him to the station and did that," Steele said. "I don't foresee any way that this would impact his eligibility, or that he would not race."

The Associated Press reported Thursday afternoon that Schuffenhauer was detained in connection with a dispute with his fiancée Ruthann Savage, who arrived at the Olympics this week. Schuffenhauer, 35, was a member of the four-man team that won silver in Salt Lake City in 2002.

Schuffenhauer participated in a training run Thursday afternoon, though USBSF officials kept him away from reporters. If the ongoing investigation were to impact Schuffenhauer's eligibility in the next two days, it would likely force USA 3 to withdraw from the Olympics, as the team has no alternates at the Games.

"I don't know what the facts are, so we're just trying to focus on the race," USA 3 pilot Mike Kohn said after the Thursday morning training run. "I've got my hands full with trying to navigate this course. ... It seems like [Schuffenhauer] was ready to push this morning, and he pushed as well today as he did yesterday. Obviously, the timing of it's not good." Kohn took bronze in '02 as part of the USA 2 four-man team.

Schuffenhauer, who is participating in his third Olympics, overcame a nightmarish childhood, which included frequent homelessness, on his journey to becoming an elite athlete.

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