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Flames and Flickers: A bizarro midair arrest

2/11/2002

SALT LAKE CITY -- An airline passenger who allegedly got up
to go the bathroom less than 30 minutes before landing became the
first person arrested under a new federal flight regulation adopted
for the Olympics.

Richard Bizarro, 59, could get up to 20 years in prison on
charges of interfering with a flight crew.

Bizarro was on a Delta flight from Los Angeles on Saturday when
he allegedly left his seat 25 minutes before landing, despite two
warnings from the captain to the 90 passengers to stay put as
required under the 30-minute rule adopted for Salt Lake City by the
Federal Aviation Administration.

Air marshals aboard the plane ordered all passengers to put
their hands on their heads for the rest of the flight.

Bizarro, of Park City, was jailed overnight and released on his
own recognizance. Messages left with his attorney and at his home
were not returned Monday.

Authorities said a flight attendant instructed Bizarro to return
to his seat immediately after he left the bathroom. She said
Bizarro, who is 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, ignored her orders and
stared at her for about a minute before returning to his seat,
according to the FBI.

Two of three undercover air marshals on board saw what happened,
the FBI said. One of the agents said he saw Bizarro give what
appeared to be a "thumbs up" to another passenger as he returned
to his seat, prompting the marshals to take control of the cabin.

NBC blowing smoke with TV 'fireplace'
This Olympic flame is a fake.

Peer past daytime host Hannah Storm or prime-time host Bob
Costas during NBC's coverage of the Salt Lake City Games, and
there's no way to miss the fireplace on the well-manicured set.

Turns out, though, that the fire lending the network's studio
segments such a warm and cozy feel as it flickers so perfectly is
not really there.

It's a video of a fire (replete with wafting smoke) that NBC
tried its best to make look real.

In its quest to package the perfect viewing experience for the
millions of Americans watching the Olympics each day over these 2½
weeks, the network spruced things up a bit.

The Associated Press asked how the contraption works.

"Our fireplace is truly one of the great mysteries of
television," NBC Sports VP Kevin Sullivan said with a laugh
Monday, but he wouldn't comment further.

Perhaps someone just figured it would be good if Costas could
say, as he did Saturday night, "Here's our special correspondent,
Jim McKay, for the first of several fireside chats," without
anyone having to go through the trouble of collecting kindling.

If nothing else, the use of video means Costas and Storm don't
need to worry about closing the flue at the end of their shifts.
And there's no danger of a script being burned.

(Actually, the luxuriousness of NBC's main set sparks sympathy
for Jim Lampley, whose CNBC Olympic studio doesn't appear to have
enough leg room, much less fancy fixtures, faux or otherwise.)

Ex-USOC head aims for alliance with official linked to scandal
SALT LAKE CITY -- The head of the U.S. Olympic Committee
when the Salt Lake City scandal broke is about to become vice
president of an international sports group led by a powerful South
Korean implicated in the case.

Former USOC president Bill Hybl has been offered the vice
presidency of the International Taekwondo Federation, a source with
knowledge of the offer said Monday, speaking on condition of
anonymity.

In addition, Hybl was instrumental in helping his hometown of
Colorado Springs, Colo., win this year's meeting of the General
Association of International Sports Federations, the umbrella
organization of Olympic sports.

Both the federation and GAISF are run by Kim Un-yong, an
International Olympic Committee member who was censured in the
million-dollar scam involving Salt Lake City's winning bid for the
Winter Olympics.

An IOC ethics panel handed Kim a "most severe" warning three
years ago after it concluded he had used his position in
international sports to further the careers of his son and
daughter.

Hybl, whose own term on the IOC expired last week, declined to
discuss a position with the taekwondo federation. However, he said
he was involved in helping the United States gain more leadership
in international sports groups, and he saw no problem in an
alliance with Kim.

"I must tell you that the sport under his leadership has
achieved a great presence," Hybl said. "He deserves a lot of
credit."

If at first you don't succeed ...
SALT LAKE CITY -- He fell early and lost his sunglasses,
then got cramps and nearly threw up before pulling out less than
halfway through the 30-kilometer cross-country ski race.

Undaunted, Drexel engineering professor Prawat Nagvajara will
give it another go next week.

Thailand's first athlete in the Winter Games, Nagvajara believes
he'll go the distance in the 1.5-kilometer sprint.

"I'll have fun. I'll finish this for sure," he said.

Nagvajara, 43, was duly impressed by the other skiers Saturday.

"They were very fast, much faster than I thought they'd be,"
he said. "I thought let's not interrupt the race, let's get out at
the right spot."

Nagvajara said officials asked before the games if he would
prefer to do the 1.5-kilometer race, but he wanted to try the
30-kilometer event. He decided if he couldn't finish the longer
race, then he would also enter the sprint, scheduled Feb. 19.

Nagvajara says he, his wife and their 2-year-old son are
enjoying themselves in Salt Lake City. He intends to go to all the
cross-country skiing events and said, "I want to go see the
bobsled, they're really nice guys."

Utah cowbell opens New York Stock Exchange
When the cowbell rang, traders began
frantically bidding, buying and selling -- 2,200 miles away on the
floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

In Wall Street's nod to the Olympics, Salt Lake City mayor Rocky
Anderson, NYSE president Cathy Kinney and Questar Corp. CEO Don
Cash rang the opening bell via satellite from Salt Lake City.

Traders in New York watched a video feed as the trio rang the
foot-high cowbell decorated with Olympic insignia.

It was only the third time that the opening bell was rung
outside New York, and the first time a cowbell sent the New Yorkers
scurrying about their business.

Ready ... aim ... fire!
If goaltender Natalya Trunova felt like she had a
bulls-eye painted on her forehead Monday, she had good reason. The
goaltender for Kazakstan made 59 saves against Canada in their
first-round hockey game.

Trunova's long day of swatting and smothering and blocking the
puck still wasn't enough -- Canada won 7-0. Kazakstan got off just
11 shots at Canadian goalie Kim St. Pierre.

Two thumbs up
German Interior Minister Otto Schily gave the
Olympics a good review so far, even saying the security was not
only perfect but "friendly." His overall assessment of the games:
"Two thumbs up and a big thanks to our American friends."

Next stop, Colorado

A major international sports meeting is
coming to the home city of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The General Association of International Sports Federations, the
umbrella group for Olympic sports, awarded this year's convention
to Colorado Springs, Colo. The meeting will be Nov. 21-24.