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US bobsleigh Olympian Jovanovic dies at 43

Pavle Jovanovic (left) celebrates a win in Austria in 2007 with US bobsleigh teammates, Steve Mesler, Steven Holcomb and Brock Kreitzburg. Jovanovic took his own life at the age of 43
Pavle Jovanovic (left) celebrates a win in Austria in 2007 with US bobsleigh teammates, Steve Mesler, Steven Holcomb and Brock Kreitzburg. Jovanovic took his own life at the age of 43 K.JOSCH AFP/File
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Los Angeles (AFP)

Pavle Jovanovic, who competed in bobsleigh for the United States at the 2006 Olympics, took his own life last weekend at the age of 43, the US Bobsled and Skeleton federation said Saturday.

"The winter sports community has suffered a tragic loss," said federation chief executive Aron McGuire, a former teammate of Jovanovic.

"Pavle's passion and commitment towards bobsled was seen and felt by his teammates, coaches, competitors, and fans of the sport. He lived life to the fullest and had a lasting influence on all those who had the opportunity to spend time with him."

Jovanovic, who competed in bobsleigh for the United States at the 2006 Olympics, took his own life last weekend at the age of 43, the US Bobsled and Skeleton Federation said Saturday.

"The winter sports community has suffered a tragic loss," said federation chief executive Aron McGuire, a former teammate of Jovanovic.

"Pavle's passion and commitment towards bobsled was seen and felt by his teammates, coaches, competitors, and fans of the sport. He lived life to the fullest and had a lasting influence on all those who had the opportunity to spend time with him."

Another US Olympic teammate, Steve Mesler, posted a moving tribute on Instagram, which was all the more anguished because Jovanovic's suicide comes three years after American bobsleigh driver Steven Holcomb died at the age of 37.

"Pav, I can't believe another one of these needs to be written," Mesler wrote. "I can’t believe it's you I'm writing this about. My personal legend – the athlete that set the standard for focus, dedication, meticulousness, and drive – tragically took his own life at the age of 43."

Jovanovic missed the 2002 Olympics after failing a drugs test and served a two-year ban before competing at the 2006 games. He placed seventh in the two- and four-man events as a pusher in driver Todd Hays' sleigh.

"You never know what people are going through from outward appearances," former teammate Jason Dorsey commented on Facebook. "We have to talk to them and listen more. I'm going to work on that going forward."

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