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Flames and Flickers: Hey, we can get this at home

2/12/2002

Belarus has charged U.S. Winter Olympics organizers with not providing enough food to its
athletes, and feeding them on McDonald's hamburgers.

Deputy Sports Minister Alexander Grigorov said organizers in Salt Lake City had not fulfilled their obligations to the
Belarussian team, which is based 50 miles from the games.

"Our sportsmen are getting sandwiches from McDonald's and various hamburgers. But they need normal meat,
fresh fruit juices, hot soup," Grigorov told Reuters in Minsk.

Earlier, Ivan Ryzhenkov, captain of Belarus' Olympic team and who came 30th in the biathlon men's 20-kilometer individual final Monday, said food was a major problem.

"The biathletes have not received dinner for three days. We've had trouble with food from the very first day," he told
state television from Salt Lake City.

President Alexander Lukashenko, who is also head of Belarus' Olympic Committee and sometimes plays for national hockey team, has filed a formal protest, the sports ministry said.

The spat is the latest in a series of disputes with the United States, which calls Lukashenko "Europe's last dictator"
for his authoritarian style and poor rights record in the former Soviet republic.

Not even close
SALT LAKE CITY -- Steroid levels 1,000 times the limit were
found in a Latvian bobsledder allowed to compete at the Olympics
despite a failed drug test and a series of moves to ban him.

Dr. Christiane Ayot, whose IOC-accredited lab in Montreal ran
the test, said the international bobsled federation apparently
ignored the results when it imposed a retroactive three-month ban
on Sandis Prusis. The ban ended just before Olympic competition.

"I believe they had already made up their mind" and accepted
Prusis' argument that the drug was contained in legal food
supplements, said Ayot, who is helping the International Olympic
Committee's medical commission during the Winter Games.

She also said the chance that Prusis absorbed such a high amount
of the drug in contaminated supplements was very small.

"We cannot eliminate the possibility that this level was
contained in a supplement, but it would have to be one that was
grossly mislabeled, which I doubt," Ayot said, adding that a lack
of experience on the part of the federation in handling such cases
may have led to the decision.

Track worker gets more than he bargained for
PARK CITY, Utah -- A volunteer track sweeper lost part of
his index finger Tuesday night trying to catch an out-of-control
luge sled.

Venezuelan luger Iginia Boccalandro lost control of her sled
near the end of the first heat. She glanced off one wall, flew back
across the track and slammed the other wall as she continued to
careen down the ice.

Boccalandro landed face-down on the track and slid headfirst for
over 30 yards, her racing suit in tatters as she lay motionless. As
track personnel rushed to assist, her sled turned around and was
headed back toward her.

Just before the 50-pound sled reached Boccalandro, volunteer
Drake Self tried to grab it. The sled flipped over and sliced off
the tip of his index finger just below the fingernail. Another
volunteer suffered a bruised foot trying to stop the sled, which
did not hit Boccalandro.

Self, 49, from Logan, was treated and released from LDS
Hospital, said Craig Lehto, director of Utah Olympic Park.

Boccalandro sat up after a few moments and slowly climbed off
the track. She was not seriously injured.

Boccalandro, who finished 28th at Nagano, was disqualified for
not completing the run.

Security forces remain on high alert
SALT LAKE CITY -- Security forces papered the Olympics with
fliers of suspected terrorists and chased false leads Tuesday. At
the same time, they emphasized there were no known threats against
the games.

Responding to an FBI alert of a possible attack against the
United States, Olympic security workers distributed thousands of
pictures of suspects and investigated a half dozen leads the
pictures generated.

All the leads turned out to be groundless, and FBI agent Don
Johnson said there was no evidence the suspects have ever been in
the Salt Lake City area.

"We have had sightings here in Utah that all turned out to be
false sightings," said Johnson, who heads the FBI's Salt Lake City
office.

Olympic security officials got a scare later Tuesday, though,
when an environmental sample falsely tested positive for anthrax at
Salt Lake International Airport.

A new screening system detected anthrax, and when a subsequent
test also came up positive, officials began implementing their
emergency response plans.

The samples were taken to a laboratory for more sophisticated
testing and came up negative four times, convincing officials the
two initial results were wrong. Officials refused to be more
specific about the sample or say where it was found at the airport.

"We don't believe this indicates the equipment is faulty at
all," said Scott Williams, deputy director of the Utah Department
of Health. "These tests are extremely sensitive and we know that
at the first level there is the possibility for a false result."

Tooele? Skutumpah? La Verkin? Oh my!
SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake City didn't have to look far for
a name. It's a city, with a big, salty lake nearby.

Olympic visitors who venture to other parts of Utah, though, may
shake their heads at some of the names.

Hockey is in Provo, curling in Ogden and cross-country skiing
near Heber. Good thing there are no events in Tooele, Skutumpah or
the town of La Verkin.

With its blend of Mormon, American Indian and frontier heritage,
Utah prides itself on unusual town names.

Sure, you might find spots like Nipple Creek, Horsethief Canyon
and Slagtown elsewhere in the West. But names like Nephi and Lehi --
named for two figures in the Book of Mormon -- are inextricably tied
to the local culture.

No one knows that better than John W. Van Cott, author of "Utah
Place Names," an exhaustive list on the subject.

"It's fascinating, and once you start it you can't leave it
alone," the 91-year-old retired Brigham Young University professor
said.

Olympics no time to give up, shows one competitor
PARK CITY, Utah -- Not every great Olympic moment ends with
a gold medal. Moguls skier Teppei Noda of Japan offered the latest
proof of that Tuesday during a harrowing and courageous trip down
the mountain.

Noda, a five-year veteran of the Japanese ski team, caught a
nasty bump in the leadup to his first jump in qualifying.

He started falling backward as he approached the first jump. He
skidded over the icy takeoff ramp, the side of his neck hitting at
an awkward angle as he cleared it.

It was quite a wipeout.

Noda's ski came off in the tangle, but he wasn't ready to give
up on the run.

"I did it for honor, and because this is the Olympics," Noda
said.

Sidestepping slowly up the hill -- a draining journey almost
every skier has made dozens of times -- Noda retrieved the ski and
slapped his boot back into the binding.

But this was no walk of shame. The fans were cheering wildly.
After all, this is the Olympics, and as much as winning, the thrill
of competing, finishing and overcoming obstacles is what it's
supposed to be all about.

"I wanted to complete this," Noda said.

After resituating himself, Noda had another false start, veering
toward the side of the mountain, outside the course.

He stopped. More cheers.

Then, back onto the course he went, and he completed the second
jump, a modest air that drew one of the loudest ovations of the
day.

Chemicals spill near athletes' village
SALT LAKE CITY -- A woman was held for observation Tuesday
after she spilled a bottle of flammable chemical across an
intersection near the athletes' village, the Secret Service said.

The woman, who was not identified, had stolen several bottles of
the chemical from University of Utah Medical Center, said Tony
Ball, spokesman for the Secret Service.

Her actions were unrelated to the Olympics, but were instead
intended to get the attention of her daughter, who worked at the
hospital, Ball said.

Due to the proximity to the Olympic Village, the Secret Service
was called to the scene. A hazardous materials team from the Salt
Lake City Fire Department responded and cleaned up the spill.

Greek official rejects warning from IOC
ATHENS, Greece -- The official in charge of the Athens Games
angrily rejected warnings over infrastructure delays and said
Greece was not obliged to build roads to please the International
Olympic Committee.

Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, just back from the Salt
Lake City Winter Games, also accused the IOC of mistreating Athens.

IOC officials have acknowledged Greece's efforts to make up for
three years of lost time but have warned repeatedly that chronic
delays have placed the 2004 Games at risk.

"It (the IOC) acts differently toward a country with 10 million
people, which thinks it has to defend itself, and it acts
differently toward a superpower ... that controls the world. We
have to act with greater dignity and efficiency," Venizelos said
Tuesday.

Before traveling to the United States, Venizelos had said the
Salt Lake City Olympics would be a learning opportunity, primarily
about security and promoting Greek heritage.

"The lesson for me is that we do not have to prove anything. We
have to do our job with self-confidence and efficiency," Venizelos
said.

Atlanta's Olympic bomber still at large
ATLANTA -- More than five years later, the man suspected of
carrying out the deadly bombing at the last Olympics held in the
United States is still out there, on the run, as far as anyone
knows.

But terrorism experts said it is unlikely Eric Robert Rudolph
would try to pull off an Olympic bombing in Salt Lake City.

"He was a lone-wolf kind of guy, and he's probably gotten
scared off," said Brent Smith, a terrorism expert at the
University of Alabama at Birmingham. "He's probably committed the
last act he'll ever commit. But you can't bank on that."

On July 27, 1996, a bomb hidden in a knapsack exploded in
Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park, killing a woman and injuring
more than 100 people.

With the Games back in America, authorities admit they are no
closer to finding Rudolph, who is also believed to be behind
bombings at two abortion clinics and a gay nightclub in the South.

Investigators initially believed the survivalist was hiding in
the rugged Appalachians, possibly in western North Carolina. Now
they say they do not even know whether he is alive. And though they
have no evidence he has left the mountains, investigators say he
could be anywhere.

The FBI still lists Rudolph, who would be 35, among its 10 Most
Wanted, still classifying him as armed and extremely dangerous. It
has offered a $1 million reward for his capture.

'Grandma Luge' has been through plenty so far
PARK CITY, Utah -- When you have battled against cancer and a brain injury, racing down an ice track on
a luge at around 72 mph appears easy -- even at the age of 48.

Anne Abernathy of the Virgin Islands prepared to make history as the oldest woman to take part in a Winter Games
when she competes in the luge at 48 and 295 days.

They call her 'Grandma Luge'. But 'Lady Luge' or 'Dame Luge' would be more appropriate for a woman who has
shown amazing courage.

Abernathy was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer before she began her Olympic career at the 1988 Calgary Games
at the age of 34. Last year she had to undergo four months of special treatment after suffering a brain injury in a crash
on a track in Germany.

But nothing was going to stop Abernathy competing at her fifth Olympics.

"Overcoming a brain concussion is a piece of cake compared to what I've had to overcome to come here --
because I am a cancer survivor," she said in an interview. "I was diagnosed for cancer before my first Olympics and I
have been fighting it off and on since then.

"Just a little knock on the head is nothing compared to the other stuff I have been through. Actually luge helped give
me a goal to make it through. I think it is important to have a goal, whatever it is."