Olympic Bobsledder Pavle Jovanovic Dies at Age 43

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 10, 2020

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - OCTOBER 9:  Pavle Jovanovic poses for a portrait during the USOC Olympic Media Summitt October 9, 2005 at the Antlers Hilton hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Pavle Jovanovic, who competed in the 2006 Turin Olympics on the United States two-man and four-man bobsled teams, died by suicide at the age of 43.

Steven Mesler, Jovanovic's former teammate, wrote the following on Instagram in part Saturday (h/t Chros McDougall of Team USA):

"Pav, I can't believe another one of these needs to be written. 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.

"You won't have to keep going to the line with that hamstring torn in half anymore, buddy. We'll make sure your brother, your sister, & your parents know the person and athlete you were."

Jovanovic finished seventh in the two- and four-man events as a push athlete for driver Todd Hays. He also took bronze in the four-man event at the 2004 FIBT World Championships.

Tributes poured in upon news of Jovanovic's death, with former bobsled athlete and skeleton coach Greg Sand writing the following:

"We lost another good one in sliding sport this past week. Pavle was what you might imagine a Rottweiler in human form to be; tough as nails, built like a brick (expletive) house, and a work ethic forged by his family's steel fabrication business. If you were going into the battle of competition, Pav was one of those athletes you wanted on your side."

Per OlympicTalk, Jovanovic first encountered bobsled while watching the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Games. He was a linebacker for Rutgers University and became a bobsledder afterward.

Jovanovic also competed for Serbia's bobsled team after his career with the American team ended.