Turner gets lots of offers, but Weinbrecht ignored

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK

April 12, 1992|By Bill Glauber | Bill Glauber,Staff Writer

Strange, how Olympic glory translates into endorsements.

After winning a gold medal in freestyle skiing at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, Donna Weinbrecht figured to cash in.

Her sport is a funky, exuberant spectacle on snow made for the MTV generation. There are bumps, twists and rock 'n' roll.

Weinbrecht came back to the United States last month. She sat by the telephone. And waited. No one from Madison Avenue called.

"I had a lot of people ask, 'Why doesn't she have this deal, or that?' " Weinbrecht said. "It got me upset. But then, I didn't ski for endorsements. Things will come in time."

Now, listen to what happened to Cathy Turner, a double gold medalist in short-track speed skating, the roller derby of Olympic sports.

Thousands greeted her when she arrived at an airport in Rochester, N.Y.

Her hometown of Hilton, N.Y. gave her a parade. And then another.

Agents called. So did Hollywood. Everyone loved the story of the former lounge singer who overcame depression, doubt and derision to become an Olympian.

She is signed up with RayBan. She gives motivational speeches around the country.

There is talk of a movie about her life story.

And a recording deal.

She sums up the entire experience with one word: "Unbelievable."

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Cleanup campaign: Get ready for a new round of finger-pointing in track and field, the sport that gave the world Ben Johnson and the drug scandal of the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South '' Korea.

During a teleconference last week to promote the newest potential tool in the drug cops' arsenal -- blood testing -- hurdler Renaldo Nehemiah and sprinter Thomas Jefferson, both said the sport has a long way to go before it's drug-free.

"You get tired of all the innuendoes, of who is or is not clean," Jefferson said. "I'd like to go to the line in the 100 or 200 and know if I get beat, it's by someone who is clean. I don't believe everyone in this country is clean, especially in the sprinting events."

Nehemiah said the current cleanup campaign -- which includes out-of-competition drug tests -- is inadequate, since not every country participates. Besides, testing in the United States is being cut back because of budget constraints with TAC.

"I've been tested only three times since 1991," he said. "I think it's absurd that the top five people in each event aren't tested randomly. If you're in the top five in the world, it's your duty; you should be tested. However many times you need to do it, you should be tested."

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Mate swapping: The newest craze among America's top pairs figures skaters is revolving partners. Natasha Kuchiki and Todd Sand, national champions and world bronze medalists in 1991, have split. And so have Jenni Meno and Scott Wendland, second at the 1992 Nationals. Sand and Meno will now skate together. All four were coached by John Nicks.

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Donations welcome: Another sign that capitalism could be taking root in the former Soviet Union: Olympic sports shops and an Olympic lottery are being set up to help raise $3.5 million the Unified Team will need for training and then transportation to the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona, Spain.

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Debate coming up: The Olympic vacation could be ending for some of America's winter athletes. The United States sent a full team to Albertville and got clobbered in most sports, and afterward, USOC executive director Harvey Schiller received a few informal hints from IOC officials. "If more countries keep coming to the Olympics, you need some restrictions on the number of athletes," he said. "I've heard a few small comments about the size of the U.S. team. From our viewpoint, it comes down to whether you send a complete team or not. Do you send the people who are America's best, or do you only send those who are the top eight in the world?" Nice debate. Should heat up in about 18 months.

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What's practice? Gotta love Steve Snow, the latest U.S. soccer star whose late goal gave the Americans a 4-3 qualifying-round victory over Honduras. Coach Lothar Osiander says Snow "doesn't like to train hard. That seems to be against his religion. He plays because he scores."

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Not job hunting: Don't look for two-time Olympic hockey coach Dave Peterson to come back for the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway. "If someone asked me to coach again, I'd jump at the chance," he said last week before a White House ceremony honoring the 1992 Olympians. "But I probably won't apply for the job. We have a lot of fine coaches in this country. Every time the Olympic job is accepted by one man more than once, it denies the others a chance." USA Hockey officials plan to name the coach next month.

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Blue Monday: The United States beat a Republic of Russia team, in a wrestling dual meet last week in Edinboro, Pa. The big news was that Saigid Katinovasov upset 1988 Olympic gold medalist Kenny Monday, 2-1.

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