The Albertville File

February 20, 1992

* If you've ever wondered what those rugged hockey players look like under all that padding, you should have been in Courchevel yesterday.

The French hockey players stripped teammate Fabric Lhenry naked, tied him to a chair and pushed him across the rink.

A few volunteer Olympic workers witnessed the scene and one of them managed to preserve the moment on film.

"It only lasted a few seconds," a spokesman for the Courchevel rink said today.

"Such things happen fairly often, but usually there's nobody to see it."

* The women's figure skating referee whistled France's Surya Bonaly for interference today. Ben Wright of the United States, who is refereeing the competition, discouraged Bonaly from doing her innovative back flip during Olympic practice sessions, fearing it might endanger other skaters.

During yesterday's practice session, Bonaly landed the flip dangerously close to Midori Ito, spooking the Japanese skater.

Wright didn't specifically forbid Bonaly to practice the jump, but he asked her to make sure no other skaters were nearby when she launches the explosive move.

Bonaly, a former gymnastics champion, has been refining the back flip, in which she kicks her legs straight over her head in a windmill motion. The move is a slight variation on the flip done by Britain's Robin Cousins, the 1980 gold medalist, and Terry Kubicka, the 1976 U.S. champion.

The International Skating Union has since banned the back flip from competition.

On the tube

TODAY'S VIEWING CBS: CHS. 11 AND 9

8-11 p.m. (taped) -- women's slalom, men's 20-kilometer biathlon and 10,000-meter speedskating, short track speed skating.

11:30 p.m.-midnight -- Wrap-up of day's events.

TNT

1-6 p.m. -- biathlon, curling, figure skating, ice hockey, Alpine skiing, speed skating.

MEDAL LEADERS

Nation .. .. ..G .. S .. B .. Total

Germany .. .. 10 ..8 .. 6 .. 24

Unified Team..7 .. 5 .. 6 .. 18

Austria .. .. 4 .. 7 .. 7 .. 18

Norway .. .. .7 .. 5 .. 4 .. 16

Italy .. .. ..3 .. 4 .. 3 .. 10

France .. .. .3 .. 5 .. 1 .. 9

United States 3 .. 3 .. 1 .. 7

Finland .. .. 3 .. 1 .. 3 .. 7

Japan .. .. ..1 .. 1 .. 3 .. 5

Canada .. .. .1 .. 0 .. 2 .. 3

Sweden .. .. .1 .. 0 .. 2 .. 3

G--Gold; S--Silver; B--Bronze

* WHAT'S IN A NAME: Some Russians lament that their Olympic athletes have been stripped of national flag and anthem. Even the competitors' uniforms are bare of insignias.

"The team of champions . . . doesn't even have a name," noted Komsomolskaya Pravda commentators N. Dolgopolov and V. Kozin. "Our official name is the 'Unified Team.' This nonsense is even on the press cards of accredited journalists."

"Unified Team of what? The Arab Emirates?" they hissed.

As they have in previous Olympics, TV commentators and the millions of Russians following this month's Winter Games refer to the skaters, skiers and sledders now competing in France simply as "our team."

Still, Muscovites interviewed bemoaned the loss of national symbols for their athletes. The team representing the infant Commonwealth of Independent States in Albertville is competing under the Olympic flag and anthem.

* WHAT NEXT, ALBERTO? He's already made history by becoming the first Alpine skier to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals. Now, he goes for an unprecedented fourth Olympic title.

What's to stop Alberto Tomba from adding two more in '94?

At 25, the muscular Italian still has a big future.

Tomba has three Olympic championships in the bag already from Calgary and Tuesday's giant slalom here. He defends his slalom title Saturday at Les Menuires and will remain the hot favorite to win the two golds again at the next Games, in two years at Lillehammer, Norway.

"He is the favorite," French slalom skier Patrice Bianchi said. "Tomba is my model."

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