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WINTER OLYMPICS 1998 | SPOTLIGHT / A look at the day
that was and at what lies ahead at the Nagano Games

Now This Is Really The Racers' Edge

February 14, 1998|ROSS NEWHAN

German lugers had those controversial yellow booties, but the U.S. doubles teams that finished second and third had a little surprise of their own--red booties made by Staudinger of Austria.

"We kept a good secret, I guess," U.S. luge Coach Wolfgang Schadler said.

Unable to get the same booties that the Germans wore from Adidas--a bootie that keeps the foot at a wind reducing angle--Schadler said he made a backup call to Staudinger, who provided the new booties that arrived earlier this week. The team wore them in practice, liked them, and wore them in Friday's race.

"I was upset with Adidas," Schadler said. "They told me they were out of material. C'mon."

Much ado about nothing? Germany's Georg Hackl, who won the gold in men's singles and overcame a U.S.-Canada bootie protest that was rejected, said the booties cut two or three hundredths of a second off his time in each heat.

However, Mark Grimmette of the U.S., a member of the bronze winning doubles team, began a news conference by saying, "Before I start, this had nothing to do with the boots, OK?"

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