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2010 Winter Olympics: Utah bobsledder Bill Schuffenhauer detained, released by Canadian police

Published: Thursday, Feb. 25 2010 6:20 p.m. MST

WHISTLER, British Columbia — American bobsledder Bill Schuffenhauer was detained and released by Canadian police after an argument with his fiance. U.S. Bobsled officials don't believe any more will come of the incident.

"Billy was brought in, he answered questions for 2-3 hours and was let go," said Darrin Steele, CEO of U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation. "The situation occurred before midnight. Billy's focus now is the race on Friday and Saturday."

He also defended Schuffenhauer's character.

"We all have great admiration for Billy. He has a pretty amazing story ... how he sacrificed to get here. He's the first to reach out to charities and volunteer causes."

The 37-year-old Ogden resident was at practice Thursday but not available to the media.

His fiance, Ruthann Savage, and their young son were flown into Vancouver by Olympic sponsor Proctor & Gamble several days ago to watch him compete. The company read about him growing up homeless with drug-addicted parents and wanted to help his family have the chance to see him compete.

Schuffenhauer told the Deseret News that he'd proposed to Savage over the phone over Thanksgiving.

A search of court records revealed that Savage filed for a co-habitant abuse protective order on Oct. 4, 2005. She then asked for the petition to be dismissed on Oct. 17, just before a scheduled hearing on the issue.

Schuffenhauer begins the first rounds of bobsled competition on Friday afternoon. He won a silver medal in four-man at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.

"I didn't get to talk to him about it," said Mike Kohn, the driver of USA 3, the sled that Schuffenhauer helps push. "There's an ongoing investigation. I don't know the facts. We're just trying to focus on the race right now. He's going through a tough time and we're going to focus on the race."

Darrin Steele, chief executive of the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, said Schuffenhauer was not arrested.

"It looks like nothing further is going to happen," Steele said. "Looking at the whole thing I don't foresee any way that he would not race, regardless of how things progress."

Canadian police declined comment, citing privacy laws.

Contributing: Pat Reavy and The Associated Press

e-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com

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