Fans rejoice at self-financed bobsleigh pair

SALT LAKE CITY – Competing for Greece’s national team in the two-man bobsleigh event at the Winter Olympics yesterday, the Greek-American pair of John-Andrew Kambanis and John Livaditis stirred up enough commotion among their handful of fans at the finish line to make other followers wonder whether they had pulled off a major coup. The pair’s final ranking, 31st among a field of 38, was lower than they had expected, but this did not dampen their spirits. Participation and completion alone were the main factors driving the efforts of this duo, which had self-financed its way into the Salt Lake City Games. It was an eagerly awaited moment, the pair commented afterward, ever since they decided to attempt qualifying for the Olympics. Clocking up a total time of 3:16:66 over four heats, the Greek pair’s time was just six and a half seconds behind that of the event’s eventual gold medalists, Germany’s Christoph Langen and Markus Zimmermann. They clocked 3:10.11. The US-based Greek team may have seemed peculiar to some, but there were far greater eccentricities among the competitors. Armenia’s pair of Jyorgos Alexandrou and Dan Janjigian, who finished two positions below the Greeks, deprived of official help and facilities, used the steep slopes of San Francisco to prepare for their moment of Olympic glory.

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