- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 24, 2002

From combined dispatches
Prince Albert of Monaco, appearing in his fifth Olympics, crashed during the third run of four-man bobsled yesterday and slid sideways across the finish line.
Driving the red Monaco-1, the prince got too high on one of the curves on the lower part of the course and flipped the sled. As it toppled over, the prince's head slammed into one of the side walls as the sled began careening out of control.
He was unable to right the sled and it skittered past the finish line on its side, spraying snow and ice as it went. The prince and his crew were helped from their sled by track personnel and appeared to be uninjured.
The prince, who has a severely pulled hamstring, looked annoyed as he walked to the finish area.
An IOC member since 1985, the prince has hinted that this would be his final Olympics. He made his Olympic debut at Calgary in 1988 and has competed in the two- and four-man competitions.
Later, Slovakia-1, piloted by Milan Jagensak crashed in the same spot, and it too slid to the finish on its side. During Friday's first two heats, sleds from New Zealand and the Virgin Islands crashed in their first heats and didn't make second runs.

Russian hockey coach's claims get rejected
International hockey's governing body angrily rejected claims by the Russian men's hockey coach that a referee cost his team a chance to win the gold medal.
Rene Fasel, head of the ice hockey federation, defended the officiating at the Salt Lake City Olympics, saying it was "of the highest possible level."
After his team lost 3-2 to the United States in the semifinals Friday, coach Slava Fetisov criticized the referee and said a Canada-United States gold-medal game was intended all along.
"The referee's decisions were not the reason why Russia lost," Fasel said.
Fetisov, however, said Canada and the United States got an unfair advantage under an agreement requiring NHL referees in games in which players from the league make up 50 percent of the rosters.
Bill McCreary of Canada was the referee for the Russia-U.S. game and also will work the gold medal game between the U.S. and Canada today. The other NHL referees in Salt Lake City are Stephen Walkom and Dennis LaRue, both of the United States.
Fetisov stood by his remarks yesterday.
"In a competition like that, the refereeing should be neutral. They made the agreement before, and we're kind of hostages of this situation," Fetisov said.
Several Russian players, including Danny Markov, screamed at McCreary as he left the ice after Friday's game, causing Markov to be suspended for Russia's 7-2 bronze-medal victory yesterday over Belarus.
"You can always criticize certain calls and try to prove that the referee made a mistake in a certain situation," Fasel said in a statement. "But when the coach of a team tries to undermine and question the integrity of the Olympic hockey tournament, it makes me very angry and disappointed."
Russian goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, no doubt aware he must go back to playing in games officiated by NHL referees and linesmen, disagreed with Fetisov's comments, saying the officiating was fair.
Fetisov, a longtime Soviet star before starting his NHL playing and coaching career, was under considerable pressure to win a gold medal with a lineup loaded with high-scoring forwards. Some Russian players lobbied Russian president Vladimir Putin to choose Fetisov, who is not especially popular with Russian hockey federation officials.
Even before the hockey loss, the Russians had threatened to leave Salt Lake City because of what they saw as favoritism in other sports, including figure skating, before deciding to stay.
"I have known Slava Fetisov for many years and I consider him a good friend and hope that he made the comments in the heat of the moment and that he really didn't mean what he said," Fasel said.

Wiberg, Kurri elected
Double gold-medal skier Pernilla Wiberg of Sweden and NHL Hall of Famer Jari Kurri of Finland were among four new members voted to the athletes' commission that works with the International Olympic Committee.
Cross country skier Manuela Di Centa of Italy and speedskater Adne Sondral of Norway also were approved to join the commission that advises the IOC on issues involving athletes and sports.
The group has become increasingly influential under reforms adopted in the wake of the Salt Lake City bid scandal.
The four were the top voter-getters in balloting by the athletes at the games. Wiberg and Di Centa, who finished 1-2 in the athletes' voting, each will serve eight-year terms. Kurri and Sondral will serve four years.

Hughes' next goal
Now that Sarah Hughes has the gold medal she always wanted, she can start working on another big goal.
Getting her driver's license.
The 16-year-old from Great Neck, N.Y., hasn't had time to get her license yet, not with all the hours she spends in training. She also has a three-hour roundtrip commute each day to the rink in Hackensack, N.J., with coach Robin Wagner doing the driving.
Wagner hopes her chauffeuring days will be over soon.
"I'm really hoping she learns to drive," Wagner said with a laugh. "That's the next thing we're working on."

Banned banner
While it's no secret the Swiss love their bobsledders, they finally crossed the line.
The six Swiss flags and four fan club banners in the stands lining the track at the start were fine. It was that big black-and-gray banner that caused a minor stir. On the front was "Rigi Tresorbau AG," the name of a company that sponsors Swiss driver Martin Annen.
It didn't take SLOC officials long to spot it.
"No commercialism is allowed," said Bryan Hendrickson, a sports supervisor at Utah Olympic Park. "We don't want them to take advantage."
So SLOC's Craig Hall made his way over to the banner. Soon, long scarves were draped over the company name.

Gold campaign
A South Korean Web site claims to have raised $3,500 to buy short-track speedskater Kim Dong-sung a gold medal replica.
"Let's give Kim Dong-sung a true gold medal," was posted on the site, which claimed that hundreds of people have contributed.
Kim, a 1998 gold medalist in the 1,000 meters, crossed the line first Wednesday in the 1,500 meters, but was disqualified for illegally impeding American Apolo Anton Ohno, who was awarded the gold.
The decision outraged South Korean Olympic officials, whose protest was rejected.
Chung Jin-wook, who runs the Morning365.com Web site, said the campaigners plan to make a replica of an Olympic medal and present it to Kim when the Korean delegation returns home after today's closing ceremony.

Who cares?
Sure the Canadians love curling, the so-called "shuffleboard on ice" event known for its frenzied sweeping and rumbling stones. It's also popular in Scotland, birthplace of the sport.
But does anyone else care?
After the men's and women's gold medal matches, both champions were asked if their victories would boost curling's profile in their homelands.
"There's always going to be people who slag off the sport," said British captain Rhona Martin. "Hopefully, the TV coverage will help raise the profile back home."
The women's gold Britain's first Winter Games gold in any sport in 18 years did cause a bit of a stir. Prime Minister Tony Blair praised the Olympic champions, and Martin and her crew also are being offered a deal to endorse a floor cleaning product.
The winning Brits, all Scots, said there are curling clubs around Scotland, but the sport isn't well known elsewhere in the United Kingdom.
Paal Trulsen, skip of the victorious men, said the situation's similar in Norway.
"I hope we can get some curling going, so that school kids, younger kids, get into the sport," he said. "I know there's been a lot on TV and in the newspapers, so that is good for the sport."


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