Once, future ice queens meet

February 22, 1992

Before Kristi Yamaguchi went onto the ice yesterday to compete for an Olympic gold medal, she got some tips on winning from the last person to bring the United States gold in women's figure skating.

Yamaguchi said she met with 1976 gold medalist Dorothy Hamill just before taking the ice. Hamill claimed her gold at the Winter Games in Innsbruck.

"I did meet with Dorothy right before the competition ," Yamaguchi said. "She's one of the reasons I'm in the sport right now. And it was just a thrill to meet with her.

"She wanted to wish me all the best. She reminded me how hard I worked to get here and . . . to go out there and have fun."

Yamaguchi said "it was just a thrill to feel the support she has given me. It was just an inspiration."

Yamaguchi, 20, was 4 years old when Hamill won her gold medal. She used to carry a Dorothy Hamill doll to the rink when she practiced.

Send a card next time

Even Alberto Tomba loses his way on the slopes sometimes.

Tomba tried to ski to nearby Meribel to visit injured Italian teammate Deborah Compagnoni but had to give up after going the wrong way.

Members of his party said Tomba lost his bearings and preferred to return by chair lift before sunset.

Compagnoni tore her left knee ligaments in Wednesday's women's giant slalom, the day after capturing the women's super-giant title.

"I am really sorry for Deborah. I really want to pay her a visit but I don't know where or when at the present stage," Tomba said.

Testing your medal

dTC

It's not all gold, silver or bronze that glitters in the medals of the Winter Games, and that's OK with the people winning them.

Instead of the usual solid metal, the Albertville medals have crystal bodies, engraved with Alpine peaks and the Olympic rings, and only a thin, border made from one of the three precious metals.

"We all think they are very special," said German Nordic skiing coach Georg Sutter, whose biathlon athletes have won seven of Germany's leading 25 medals. "Why should we think otherwise?"

Norway, with a surprising 18 medals, agrees.

"The most important [thing] is to get them, not their design," said speed-skating coach Layla Andresen.

Couch pommes frites

The French are watching their Olympics.

Almost 13 million television viewers watched the opening ceremony and five million people -- better than one in three adults -- watched a tape of the U.S.-France hockey game, which the Americans won, 4-1.

The top mark of the TV ratings came during the ice dance finals when nearly two of every French viewers tuned in for the last portion of the competition to see the Paul and Isabelle Duchesnays fail in their bid for the gold medal.

The quote

"This morning I felt pretty nauseous. Look, I'm being compared to a man who does 2,000 sit-ups a day." Chris Coleman, the veteran brakeman who replaced Minnesota Vikings fullback Herschel Walker on the U.S. four-man bobsled team.

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