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U.S. bobsleigh crew member arrested: USOC

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - A member of the U.S. bobsleigh team was arrested at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, a U.S. Olympic official said on Thursday.

“We understand that late last evening (February 24) Bill Schuffenhauer, a member of the U.S. Bobsled team, was detained and released by authorities in Whistler. At this point we are awaiting further details,” Patrick Sandusky, the United States Olympic Committee’s chief spokesman, said in a statement.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said an unnamed man was arrested on Wednesday for assaulting his common law partner in Whistler, where Alpine, Nordic and sliding events are being held in the Vancouver Games.

The man was released on bail and police were recommending prosecutors charge him with assault and uttering threats. He is scheduled to appear in provincial court in North Vancouver on April 21, the RCMP said.

The RCMP said they made the arrest after being told of the situation by the Integrated Security Unit, which is responsible for guarding the athletes’ village in Whistler.

Darren Steele, chief executive of U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, said they were standing by Schuffenhauer.

“Billy was brought in, he answered questions for two to three hours and was let go,” he said in a statement. “The situation occurred before midnight. Billy’s focus now is the race on Friday and Saturday.

“We all have great admiration for Billy. He has a pretty amazing he sacrificed to get here. He’s the first to reach out to charities and volunteer causes.”

Schuffenhauer, 36, is a crew member in the third U.S. sled driven by Mike Kohn. They trained normally on Thursday with the first two heats due to take place on Friday.

Editing by Ed Osmond