A brief episode after Belarus' shocking victory over Sweden in the men's hockey quarterfinals showed how tricky translations can be.
Belarus Coach Vladimir Krikunov was asked to compare his team's 4-3 victory to the United States hockey team's "Miracle on Ice."
FOR THE RECORD
Los Angeles Times Tuesday February 26, 2002 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 A2 Desk 1 inches; 33 words Type of Material: Correction
Olympic hockey--The United States-Soviet Union hockey game in the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Games was not a semifinal, as reported in a Sports story Thursday. The final round of the Olympic tournament that year was a four-team round-robin.
"In 1980, I was watching on TV when the U.S. beat the Soviet Union," the interpreter quoted Krikunov as saying. "But I lost a bottle of cognac today because I thought this would be our last game."
That set off a minor stir. Had the coach actually bet against his own team? After further questioning after the end of the official news conference, the interpreter made a clarification. It turns out he had made a bet with a United States NHL agent that the Americans' victory over the Soviets in 1980 was for the gold medal. In reality that game was a semifinal, and the U.S. beat Finland for the gold.
So the translator should have said something like "I lost a bottle of cognac because I thought that was their last game."
It's a Good Thing She Didn't Feel any Better
Janica Kostelic, the Croatian sensation, has won three Alpine skiing medals in the Salt Lake Games, but you wonder how she can even get from the couch to the kitchen the way she talks.
Kostelic, 20, has had three operations on her left knee since last spring and said the injury still bothers her.
After she won the women's combined event, Kostelic said the only parts of her body that didn't hurt were her right arm and her hair.
After she won Wednesday's slalom, Kostelic was asked again about her aching knee.
"It's not a big thing," she said. "I can still walk. I can walk on my hands too, so that helps."
Sometimes You Win, Some Things You Lose
Anita Corbett's job is to give stuff away, and she has lots of inventory: More than 5,000 items, increasing by an average of about 750 per day.
The only catch is, you must prove it belongs to you.
Corbett is the Salt Lake Organizing Committee's manager of spectator lost and found.
Surgical scissors, ice tongs, and a framed oil painting are among the items that have been turned in.
"We have a database and log in the items with the venue name and date," Corbett said. "That way we can do a quick search and try and find your item."
About 15% of the lost items are returned.
"We sit here and hear beepers and cell phones going off," Corbett said. "We try to find the phone or pager and answer them before they hang up.
"Gloves. Tons of gloves. Almost all of the gloves are adult size. We get very few children's sizes.
"Car keys, hotel room keys, driver's licenses, credit cards. I have people's lives here."
Behind Every Successful Woman ...
Jennifer Rodriguez, a former inline skater from Miami, credited speedskating fiance K.C. Boutiette, a former inline skater from Tacoma, Wash., with helping her win bronze medals, her first Olympic medals, in the women's 1,000 and Wednesday's 1,500.
"K.C.'s been nothing but absolutely terrific," she said. "Since his race was over [he finished fifth in the men's 5,000 Feb. 9] he's done everything for me.
"He's pulled me around on the ice after my fast laps, he's sharpened my skates, he's yelled at people who wanted me to go here and there--he's like, 'No, she has to focus on her races.' He's been the backbone. He's been there for absolutely everything."
Because the couple has a spring wedding planned, and his own skating was out of the way, Boutiette figured that was the least he could do.
"You learn from other skaters that you have to be focused and ready for races," he said. "I didn't want her doing lots of interviews or other stuff. If she would have done all that stuff, then maybe she wouldn't be here today [with two medals."
It's the Case of the Minsking Person
Andrej Lyskovec, a ski jumper from Belarus, apparently enjoyed his visit to the United States so much he didn't want to go home to Minsk right away.
Problem was, he didn't tell his delegation he was staying.
Lyskovec was last seen by teammates Sunday, sending officials scurrying Monday when he didn't show up to meet his coach for their flight home.
The team reported him missing to the FBI and local police.
"We found that he was not in the village three or four hours before the departure," delegation administrator Natalia Kotlyarova said. "Then we were waiting for him at the airport, hoping he'd come. We called his wife, but she also had no idea."
His wife finally solved the mystery. Police spoke to her Tuesday and she said her husband had called to tell her he was remaining in the United States for a few months.
Lyskovec was 42nd in the 90-meter individual jumps on Feb. 10 and failed to qualify in the 120-meter two days later.
New Event: Medal Jump
The United States has won 26 medals, twice its previous Winter Games record, and could set yet another mark--the biggest jump in medals from one Winter Olympics to another.
Norway holds that record with a 15-medal jump from five medals in Calgary in 1988 to 20 in Albertville, France.
Times staff writers J.A. Adande, Chris Dufresne, Gary Ambrose and Mike Kupper and Associated Press contributed to this report.