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February 19, 1998 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-02-19

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14A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 19, 1998

Kwan, Lipinski leave field in the dust as
they glide to first and second in short
NAGANO, Japan (AP) - Gold, sil- Kwan, silky in a red and pink sequin Olympic champ. 45 seconds left in the two-minute, 40-
ver, black and blue. dress, melded her skating in perfect American women have won the gold second routine, she pumped her fist and
Michelle was nearly perfect. Tara, sync with piano concertos by and bronze in the same Olympics twice, smiled broadly, looking as if she wanted
too. But, oh, Nicole. what happened to Rachmaninoff as if the composer had in 1992 and 1960, but captured the gold to shout in delight.
you? written them just for her, and silver only once when Tenley "I did," she said, her eyes wide with

4

So went the wild dream of an
Olympic sweep by U.S. women figure
skaters.
Michelle Kwan imagined herself in
heaven and skated like an angel in the
short program last night. Tara Lipinski
summoned the vision of a cartoon
'princess, soaring gaily in her own ice
palace.
Nicole Bobek? She didn't know what
to think when her first triple klutz
wrecked any hope of a sweep. It was a
bomb of a show that left her sobbing,
stunned and speechless.
The 1-2 punch of Kwan and Lipinski
virtually guaranteed one of them will
,win the gold, the other the silver in the
best showing by the United States in 42
%years.
It wasn't so much their position in the
standings that separated Kwan and
Lipinski from No. 3 Maria Butyrskaya
of Russia, No. 4 Lu Chen of China, No.
5 Irina Slutskaya of Russia or No. 6
Surya Bonaly of France.
It was the way Kwan and Lipinski.
the past two world champions, blended
their artistry and athletic leaps with
more fluidity than everyone else.

"Before I started," the I7-year-old
Kwan said, "I heard people cheering and
I thought, 'I'm in heaven.' People clap-
ping, billions of people watching on TV
and I'm skating. It's just me and the ice.
When I'm on the ice, I don't think any-
body can stop me."
Kwan sais she had "butterflies" in the
warmup, but she put them to rest by
thinking,'"I've done this so many times,
I can do it now. I've done everything
possible. I've trained hard.' I kind of
knocked some sense into myself."
She breezed through the eight
required elements flawlessly, from her
first combination - a triple lutz-double
toe loop - to her final spiral. Her fine,
quick footwork and her strong, graceful
lines put her in a class by herself.
The judges rewarded Kwan with a
solid string of 5.9s for artistry, and 5.7s
and 5.8s for technical merit.
Kwan smiled and waved, not in any
exuberant manner, but as if she merely
did what she was expected to do and
was saving emotion for the free skate
tomorrow night. She came in as the
reigning U.S. champion, and is four
minutes away from leaving as the

Albright and Carol Heiss did it in 1956.
No country ever swept the women's
figure skating medals, and none will
this year. Bobek's botched performance
- a spill on a triple lutz 20 seconds into
her program, and mistakes on every
other jump - assured that.
The 1995 U.S. champion cried as she
waited for her marks, 4.2 to 4.7 for tech-
nical merit, 5.0 to 5.5 for artistry, and
was still crying when she left the arena
in 17th place. She declined to talk about
it afterward.
The 15-year-old Lipinski clutched her
head in her hands and nearly cried with
joy at the end of her portrayal of
Princess Anastasia to the music from the
animated movie. Calling her perfor-
mance her best ever "technically and
emotionally," she felt the tension melt
away when the music stopped.
"This is the first time I felt like I
wanted to cry," said Lipinski, who
looked even lighter than her 82 pounds
as she floated in a dress of lemon yellow
brocade with a light blue bodice. "It
seems so hard ,.. and when you do it. it's
like a miracle."
When she landed a double axel with

happiness. "I just felt great. After the
double axel I was thinking, 'I wish this
was a four-minute program.' I just want-
ed to keep going."
Lipinski's coach, Richard Callaghan,
called her skating "her best emotional
and artistic performance," and he was
especially impressed by the speed she
generated.
"Technically she is good, but tonight
the artistry shined almost more than the
technical," he said. "She looked like she
was on a mission. She looked energized
to go out there and do it."
Lipinski, who trains at the Detroit
Skating Club, drew marks of 5.6 to 5.8
for the required elements, and 5.6 to 5.9
for presentation.
Butyrskaya, the European champion,
kicked off the brilliant night with a sexy
rendition of "Fever." She shook her hip
toward the judges on the first beat, then
propelled herself into the first of her
triple jumps.
It was an alluring, if imperfect, per-
formance-she two-footed a triple lutz
and her spirals were weak -- but good
enough to keep her at the top until
Lipinski skated and moved ahead.

AP PHOTO
Domination was the name of the game for Michelle Kwan as she jumped out to an
early lead over teammate Tara Lipinski in the short program. Nicole Bobek fell.

Hockey tournament a 'waste' for Team USA

NAGANO, Japan (AP) - "The biggest waste of
time. Ever."
America probably thinks so, too.
With those six little words, Keith Tkachuk
summed up the humiliating Olympic experience of
the greatest U.S. hockey team ever assembled.
Shut down by goaltending genius Dominik Hasek
and caught out of position several times by an oppor-
tunistic Czech Republic team, the United States was
eliminated from the quarterfinals with a 4-1 loss on
Wednesday.
"I hate to be negative," said Tkachuk. the U.S.
team's alternate captain, "but this is disgusting."
"Everybody's shocked and disappointed," said
Mike Modano, the only U.S. player able to score in
39 shots 'on Hasek. "A lot of guys are frustrated,
thinking it was a waste of time ... to come over here
at all.
"I'm sure I'm going to be apologizing for a long
time. I'm sure we're going to hear about it for a long
time. That part is going to be tough to deal with. But
what's done is done."
Six 50-goal scorers and 17 other N HL. stars
weren't enough to keep the United States from

extending its record run
medal.
The U.S. team hasn't

of five Olympics without a
won so much as a bronze

since the 1980 Miracle on lee gang captured gold.
The Americans finished 1-3 in the Olympics' first
"dream team" tournament - featuring six nations
stocked with NHL talent - and were outscored 12-
4, by the three good teams they faced.
The loss came one day after the U.S. women's
hockey team won the sport's first Olympic gold
medal by beating Canada 3-1.
Many of them were in the stands Wednesday to
watch this game, and like most of the pro-American
crowd at Big Hat Arena, they filed out in stunned
silence when it ended.
"We had to play better in the preliminary round" to
get a higher quarterfinal seed, U.S. captain Chris
Chelios said. "We put ourselves in position to play
against the best goaltender in the world. If we had
finished higher and peppered Finland with (39)
shots. I don't think we would have lost."
As the buzzer sounded, Tony Amonte broke his
stick over the boards and flipped it onto the ice.
Heads bowed, the Americans shook their oppo-

nents' hands and dejectedly left the ice.
"We came here with expectations of gold," U.S.
coach Ron Wilson said. "It's something that will
always be in the back of your mind: What if? We feel
we let a lot of people down, but more than any we let
ourselves down."
While almost everyone considered the U.S. team a
lock for a medal based upon its incredible talent and
thrilling World Cup victory over Canada in 1996, few
picked the Czech Republic as a serious gold medal
contender.
But the Czechs are 3-1, their lone loss coming 2-1
to Russia in round-robin play. And with "The
Dominator" in goal, they will be in every game.
"I've never seen a better goalie," Czech captain
Vladimir Ruzicka said. "Some of the saves he made
were unbelievable. His legs were going over here, his
hands were going over there. He's the best goaltender
in the world.
"We know we only have to score one or two goals."
Hasek, the NHL's MVP last season, has won three
Vezina trophies as the league's top goalie. Using hi*
unique, scrambling style, he has allowed just five
goals in the Olympics.

AP PHOTO
Three losses in four games spelled early elimination for Team USA at the Nagano
Olympics. Keith Tkachuk was vocal in his disappointment, calling it a 'waste.'

Skating not confined to
figure eights and quads

NAGANO, Japan (AP) - Eric Flaim
swears this is it, his last Olympic short-
track skating competition. No more
roller derby on ice for him. Been there.
Done that.
Of course, Cathy Turner said the
same thing.
There's something about this demoli-
tion-derby event that keeps bringing
them back. Call it the lure of the pack,
a sort of siren's song that compels
skaters to chase each other around like
Times Square at rush hour and then
come back for more.
CBS will show the short-track
skaters tonight, covering the men's and
women's 500-meter races and the men's
5,000 relay. Also scheduled is the
women's 1,000 speedskating, the
women's slalom, the men's giant
slalom, cross country skiing and team
ski jumping.
And for the night owls, there's a
hockey semifinal game beginning at
12:35 a.m. EST tomorrow.
Short track is a sort of first cousin to
speedskating. The difference is the

clock doesn't determine the winner.
Instead, what matters most is who
crosses the finish line first. And please,
no pushing or shoving on the passes to
get there. Colliding with or obstructing,
an opponent is strictly prohibited.
Sure. And basketball's a non-contact
sport, too.
"It's got action, drama, speed, and it's
flashy and quick," coach Jeroen Otter
said of his sport. "We just need to mar-
ket it more and make it more under
standable.
"Some people think it's like gam-
bling or roller derby, that the one left on
their feet is the winner, that it's about
staying on your feet, that it's a lucky
sport. But that's not the case. People
don't always stay on their feet in the
downhill and nobody says that's a lucky
sport."
The 35-year-old Turner, who wo.
gold medals in 1992 and 1994, has
retired three times. Though she has seen
no racing action since Lillehammer, she
competed here in the 3,000 relay as the
Americans finished fifth.
8 medal count
Bronze Total

Nation
Germany
Norway
Russia
Canada
Austria
U. S.
Finland
Netherlands
Japan

Nagano 199

Gold

Silver

7 8 7
8 8 4
8 4 1
4 5 3
2 3 7
7 1 4
2 3 6
4 4 2
4 1 3

22
20
13
12
12
12
11
10
8

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