Thursday, February 21, 2002
Flames and Flickers: Elway feels your pain
ESPN.com news services
SALT LAKE CITY -- A former NFL quarterback who knows firsthand that you don't always win the big one called to encourage the U.S. Nordic combined team.
"John Elway gave the guys a call to congratulate them on their finish in the team event," head coach Tom Steitz said.
The former Denver Broncos' star, on the losing end of three Super Bowls before winning his last two, phoned Todd Lodwick after the American team finished fourth in the combined earlier in the week.
Lodwick, from Steamboat Springs, Colo., is a longtime Elway fan.
"Once Todd figured out it was for real, he got pretty excited," Steitz said Wednesday. "It (the combined finish) was our best result ever, but fourth is the hardest place to finish in the Olympics."
The Americans go again in the Nordic combined sprint, with the medals determined on Friday.
Short-track vet makes the moment last
She wanted to fully absorb the atmosphere of her fifth and final Olympics.
Peterson, 30, is the only skater to have competed in every Olympics since short track was introduced as a demonstration event in 1988.
Her last race was the `B' final of the 3,000-meter relay Wednesday night. The United States finished third.
From Maplewood, Minn., Peterson ended her career with three Olympic medals -- silver in the 3,000 relay in 1992, and two bronzes from 1994.
The U.S. flag bearer in the opening ceremony, Peterson has struggled with chronic fatigue syndrome since 1996.
"There have been a lot of days where I haven't been able to do anything because of chronic fatigue," she said. "I've been very lucky to be able to keep going."
Wrottesley just misses putting Ireland on the board
Wrottesley just missed winning Ireland's first ever medal in the Winter Games when he finished .42 seconds behind the bronze medalist in skeleton.
But Wrottesley, who financed much of the trip to Salt Lake City himself, wasn't disappointed.
"This is wonderful," he said. "We've only been at this for 10 years. We're young at this sport."
Ireland doesn't have much snow and its Olympic committee struggles to raise money for winter sports. Wrottesley wants to help promote the Winter Games in his country.
During Wednesday's competition, he wore an orange, green and white racing suit that included a large green shamrock on his backside.
After finishing fourth, he said a celebration was on tap. "I'm sure we might be able to wrestle a bottle up."
Visitors entering the firehouse were greeted by red signs that read, "If you know the results of the race, keep it to yourself."
"I've had my ears closed all day," said Lt. Bob Otter, whose task was made more difficult by passers-by honking and shouting "Way to go Lee Ann" after she won the silver medal.
Parsley, 33, has been a volunteer firefighter in Granville for 17 years.
The firefighters moved couches and chairs into the garage where they normally keep fire trucks and wheeled in two TVs for their Olympic party.
Finally, some eight hours after the fact, they saw Parsley's Olympic ride. NBC even showed a clip of Parsley in her firefighting uniform.
As they watched Parsley take the silver, the firehouse crowd roared, with shouts of "Yes!"
Lower your firearm, please
Coach Kazunari Sasaki, who said he had never handled a gun, asked the biathlon coaches if he could hold one of their rifles. He pointed the weapon toward a window in their hotel room, and two police officers in a room directly across the way saw the gun pointing in their direction.
When the officers came to check, Sasaki was still holding the rifle as he wheeled to face them.
The JOC commended the officers for the "great restraint they exhibited in this manner."
Sasaki, speaking through an interpreter, said: "I didn't know anything about gun etiquette. I heard afterward that if I pointed a gun at the police officers, they could have shot.
"I'm so glad that they didn't."
She won't be the one breaking it.
The German speedskater, who took a gold and two silver medals at the 1998 Olympics, is pregnant. She's working the games as a commentator for German television.
Niemann-Stirnemann doesn't expect her 5,000 record of six minutes, 52.44 seconds, set on the Olympic Oval track last March 10, to survive Saturday's race.
"This is really the best skating rink in the whole world," she said. "Probably most of the records will not be broken again in a different place. Even in Calgary they cannot compete with this ice, on this altitude."
Niemann-Stirnemann has no regrets about being on the sidelines.
"Skating is great. Having a baby in a few months will, as I hope, be an even greater achievement," said Niemann-Stirnemann.
Kurri elected to athletes' commission
Alpine Skier Pernilla Wiberg of Sweden, cross-country skier Manuela Di Centa of Italy and speedskater Adne Sondral of Norway also were voted onto the panel in balloting by athletes at the games.
Wiberg and Di Centa, the leading vote-getters, each will serve eight-year terms; Kurri and Sondral will serve four years on the 19-member panel.
Prince Albert has a royal pain
Prince Albert of Monaco, competing in his fifth Olympics in four-man bobsled, is nursing a pulled hamstring that he hopes doesn't knock him out of Saturday's event.
"I pulled it last week during a sprint session. But in case we don't do well, I will not use that as an excuse," he said.
The 43-year-old Albert is the oldest driver in the two-day event that begins Friday. He said previously that these games would be his last, but he couched that Thursday, saying only, "We're nearing the end."