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Winter Olympic Countdown 8 Days Until The Games

A sport-by-sport look at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City

January 31, 2002

Alpine Skiing: Austrian downhiller Florian Seer was found to have a tumor on his spine. It reportedly wasn't cancerous, but he was scheduled for surgery this week. Injuries have already idled Austria's Hermann Maier, Josef Strobl, Hannes Trinkl, Werner Franz and Mario Matt.... Most of the U.S. women's team will skip the last pre-Olympic World Cup downhill, slalom and combined events this weekend at Are, Sweden, to train for the Games. The men's tour is in St. Moritz, Switzerland, for a downhill and giant slalom.

Biathlon/Cross-Country: Raphael Poiree of France and his wife, Live Grete Skjelbreid Poiree of Norway, won biathlon World Cup pursuit events last weekend at Anterselva, Italy. He won a 12.5-kilometer race to lead the World Cup standings, while she recorded her fourth consecutive World Cup victory.

Bobsled/Luge/Skeleton: German lugers won the men's singles and doubles and women's singles overall World Cup titles. Patric Leitner and Alexander Resch were the men's doubles champions, while Silke Kraushaar, Sylke Otto and Barbara Niedernhuber led the women's standings. Markus Prock of Austria won his 10th overall men's singles title. The highest-ranked U.S. woman was Becky Wilczak, who was fifth.

Curling: The U.S. women's team will get an Olympic send-off Monday at the Madison (Wis.) Curling Club. The team will practice there before the party.... The women's team will also be featured in a demonstration of the sport on the "Today" show Friday, with the show's anchors expected to participate.

Figure Skating: U.S. ice dance champions Naomi Lang and Peter Tchernyshev won the Four Continents title last weekend in South Korea. Most Olympians skipped the event because it's close to the Games, but the U.S. duo wanted competitive experience after missing most of this season while Tchernyshev fought shin splints.... Rena Inoue and John Baldwin Jr., who train in Aliso Viejo, finished seventh among pairs.... Second-ranked U.S. pair Tiffany Scott and Philip Dulebohn are training in Colorado Springs to prepare for the altitude at Salt Lake City. Other skaters have joined them or will do so soon, including Timothy Goebel and Sarah Hughes.

Freestyle Skiing: Jeret Peterson of Boise, Idaho, who replaced the injured Emily Cook on the U.S. Olympic aerials team, recorded the top U.S. result with a seventh-place finish at a World Cup event last weekend at Blackcomb, Canada. Peterson was told about his Olympic selection in a phone call from Cook, a classy gesture. "This isn't the way I wanted it to be, but now I have the opportunity," Peterson said.

Hockey: The U.S. women's team, 30-0-0, plays its final Olympic warmup game tonight at Denver against China.... Nancy Drolet, a mainstay of Canada's women's team since 1992, appealed Coach Daniele Sauvageau's decision to drop her from the Olympic roster. Drolet took her case to the Canadian Hockey Assn. for a hearing Wednesday. Drolet scored the winning goal for Canada at the 1997 and 2000 world championships but had been in a slump and wasn't a factor in Canada's eight consecutive losses to the U.S. ... The coach of Sweden's women's hockey team, Peter Elander, resigned after admitting he falsified documents to help two Slovenian players get residency and work permits. Daniel Morger replaced him.

Nordic Combined/Ski Jumping: Alex Glueck of Colorado Springs won a silver medal in the combined individual event at the world junior nordic championships at Schonach, Germany. However, the nordic combined sprint was canceled because of bad weather .... U.S. Olympian Clint Jones tied for seventh in the 90-meter jumping event at the world junior nordic championships. Brian Welch, another Olympian, finished 36th.

Snowboarding: Pre-Olympic training for the U.S. team is underway at Park City.... U.S. halfpipe Olympian J.J. Thomas, a medalist in the X Games, isn't awed by the prospect of competing in the Olympics. "They should be pretty close," he said. "The X Games were cool."

Speedskating: With the long-track World Cup tour taking a break for the Olympics, Canadians dominate the men's standings. Jeremy Wotherspoon ranks first in the 500 and 1,000, with Casey FitzRandolph second in the 200 and fourth in the 1,000. Dustin Molicki of Canada is first in the 1,500, followed by Derek Parra of San Bernardino. Gianni Romme of the Netherlands leads the men's 5,000/10,000 standings. For the women, Catriona LeMay Doan leads the 500 standings, with Sabine Volker of Germany the leader in the 1,000 and Anni Friesinger of Germany leading the 1,500 and the 3,000/5,000 standings.... Many short-track skaters will compete this weekend in an Olympic warmup meet at Calgary, Canada.

Helene Elliott

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