Saturday, February 23, 2002
Flames and Flickers: Albert's crashing finish
ESPN.com news services
PARK CITY, Utah -- Prince Albert of Monaco, appearing in his fifth Olympics, crashed during the third run of four-man bobsled on Saturday and slid sideways across the finish line.
Driving the red Monaco-1, Prince Albert 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. Prince Albert 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, Prince Albert 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.
Drug chief: Doping issue 'vastly improved'
As the IOC awaited word on what could be the first official doping case of the Salt Lake City Games, Pound said 3,600 out-of-competition tests over the last year had warned athletes they can't get away with using performance enhancers.
He also praised "increasingly strong athlete support for a level playing field, testing during the games themselves and a new anti-doping culture with strong International Olympic Committee support."
"The drug problem at the Salt Lake Olympics appears vastly improved over other major world and Olympic competitions," Pound said.
Pound, an IOC member from Canada, offered no statistics to support his contention. And while the Summer Olympics generally produce a handful of drug positives, the Winter Games are more immune to the problem. Only five drug cases have been confirmed since the first Winter Olympics in 1924, none in the past three games.
But winter sports have been hit hard by doping scandals in recent years, most notably the 2001 World Nordic Championships in Lahti, Finland, where six members of the host nation's cross-country ski team tested positive for drugs.
While there have been no official drug positives through the first 15 days in Salt Lake City, the games have not been immune from doping issues.
A short-track speedskater from Belarus was given a severe warning by the IOC on Friday for steroids found in her system, but the case was not considered a drug positive and she was allowed to remain in the Olympic Village and march in the closing ceremony.
Drivers' Ed for Hughes?
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, laughing. "That's the next thing we're working on."
Brooks mellowing with age
At least until they won the gold medal.
The NHL pros on the 2002 U.S. Olympic team can't say enough good things about their coach.
"I think he's the reason why we're here," said Tom Poti of the U.S. team, which plays Canada in Sunday's gold medal game.
"In 1980, I was more of a mentor, a surrogate teacher," Brooks said. "With this thing, I'm more of a conductor, trying to play off the players' thoughts."
Brooks denied he wants to parlay the U.S. team's run at the gold into another NHL coaching job. He previously coached the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars, New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins.
"If I wanted to, I'd be in Pittsburgh today," Brooks said.
He became the Penguins' coach after Kevin Constantine was fired in early December 1999. But he chose not to return the following season, mostly because his wife didn't want to relocate from their Minnesota home.
IOC honors announcer McKay
McKay was presented the Olympic Order, honoring those who have illustrated the Olympic ideals of fair play or rendered outstanding service to the Olympic cause.
He is working the Salt Lake City Games for NBC under a special arrangement with his regular network, ABC.
McKay, 79, did the Rome Games for CBS, then switched to ABC and covered 10 games, including the 1972 Munich Olympics, where he was the primary anchor on coverage of the killing of Israeli athletes and coaches by terrorists.
The IOC selected McKay for the award in 1998, but it was never presented until U.S. Olympic Committee president Sandy Baldwin draped it around his neck in a brief ceremony in NBC's Olympic complex.
Alain Baxter, a Scot who sometimes skis in a kilt, won Britain's first-ever Olympic medal on snow when he captured the slalom bronze Saturday.
"Unbelievable. I just don't understand. It's incredible," he said. "I thought I would be fourth or fifth -- but there you have it."
Born in Edinburgh, Baxter grew up in the Scottish resort of Aviemore in the Highlands, where his parents ran a ski school.
Baxter turned down a pro hockey contract so he could concentrate on skiing. He still plays hockey occasionally for the Perth Panthers in the Scottish first division.
Baxter, 28, joined the British ski squad when he was 17, but his best previous result was a fourth place in a World Cup event last year. He competed in Nagano in 1998, but his best finish was 31st in the giant slalom.
Before he began the competition here, Baxter had to re-dye his hair to blot out the cross of St. Andrew, a violation of Olympic rules forbidding displays of nationalism.
Following his bronze run Saturday, however, he got to wave a considerably larger Scottish flag.
Sign of unity
"It's very, very important for us to focus on the way the world is united and the way people are united," during the games, Giuliani said. "It's not necessarily just winning, but overcoming difficulty ... and competing at the highest level."
Giuliani, honorary chairman of the Olympic spirit committee, is in Salt Lake City for the final weekend of the games.
Better than the real thing?
"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 Sunday's closing ceremony.
"We want to give a gold medal to a true winner of the match," Chung said. "We consider our campaign an expression of national pride and true sportsmanship."