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Sunday, February 17, 2002
Flames and Flickers: Why so much beef?

ESPN.com news services

SALT LAKE CITY -- Vegetarians and other finicky eaters are starving at the beef-eaters Olympics.

There are beef hot dogs, beef chili and even the vegetable soup is made with beef stock at the concession stands.

No veggie burgers in these mountains.

The limited menus have caused grumbling fans with rumbling stomachs.

One man yelled "I'm starving!" from the middle of a line waiting for the shuttle after a three-hour luge competition.

"Upscaling" was not part of the Olympic food plan, said Don Pritchard, director of food services. Hauling food, water and cooking equipment up a steep ski hill proved logistically difficult and too costly.

"If people say this is basic, they are right on," he said.

Way too basic for many.

"This is a world-class event; you'd think they could have some fish or some garlic chicken or something," John Gould said at Utah Olympic Park. "Ten or 15 years ago you expected crummy food, but now lots of sports have upscaled it."

Deer Valley, a resort known by foodies for such treats as soy-glazed sea scallops, was so displeased with the low Olympic standards that they set up their own food tent -- offering caesar salad, turkey chili and cookies.

All venues offer nachos, soup, muffins, glazed nuts and beef products. Some of the indoor venues offer more choices, including popcorn and pizza.

Kevin Strohl, from Ohio, doesn't eat beef. "This is cattle country here," he said. "If we were in Lake Placid, I guarantee we'd have different things to eat."

Showing their colors
Canadian skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier weren't the only ones taking a victory lap around the Olympics. Russian co-gold medalist Elena Berezhnaya was having a pretty good time, too.

Berezhnaya, surrounded by fellow skaters and coaches, helped wave the Russian flag and cheer on her country's hockey team Saturday night against the United States.

Between periods, she signed autographs and posed for pictures.

Among the group with Berezhnaya was silver medal winner Evgeni Plushenko, 1992 gold medal champion Viktor Petrenko, and coach Alexei Mishin.

Her partner, Anton Sikharulidze, also was at the game that ended in a 2-2 tie.

Committe honors Shea Sr.
Jack Shea, the late patriarch of the only family to produce three generations of American Olympic athletes, was honored Sunday with the U.S. Olympic Committee's highest award.

The Olympic Torch Award was given posthumously to Shea, a double gold-medalist in speedskating at the 1932 Winter Games. Shea was killed in an auto accident just before the start of the Salt Lake City Olympics.

His son, Jim Shea Sr., accepted the award from USOC president Sandy Baldwin.

Jim Shea Sr. was a skier in the 1964 Winter Games, and his son, Jim Jr., is a skeleton racer on this year's team.

Climb every mountain
When volunteer gate judges Gary Wright and Jena Haldeman decided to get married at the top of the downhill course, all they had to do was find a preacher -- with an Olympic credential.

Security was an obstacle since only people with credentials -- issued months ago -- are allowed on the Mount Ogden course. The lovebirds finally found a Snowbasin ski patroller who is an ordained minister.

"We intended to just escape to Las Vegas, but this is a lot more romantic," Haldeman said before Sunday's ceremony.

Wearing their Olympic volunteer uniforms, the couple exchanged vows then took a trip back down the aisle -- skiing down the mountain together.

It's gold, 'mate
Thousands of miles from the ice in Salt Lake City, balmy Brisbane celebrated Australia's first Winter Olympics gold, won by the local surfer with a goatee, spiked blond hair and an eyebrow ring.

Steven Bradbury, who came from far behind to win the 1,000-meter speedskating Saturday when the other four finalists crashed, trains in one of the two ice rinks in Brisbane.

Acacia Ridge manager Dell Whelan was inundated with calls after Bradbury's win.

"It's just amazing," she said. "I've known Steven for about 12 years; he's been training here all that time. His dad was a past Australian speed skater as well."

After monitoring the race on the internet, Queensland Ice Racing vice president Ian Caldecutt said the gold medal would inspire young skaters.

"My son and my daughter are skaters," Caldecutt said. "Everybody has always looked up to him as the person to follow because he's done so well in the sport."