In the end, Talbot wins fans' cheers LILLEHAMMER '94

February 20, 1994|By Bill Glauber | Bill Glauber,Sun Staff Writer

HAMAR, Norway -- She received cards, telegrams and banners.

She raced as hard and as fast as possible.

But in the end, Kristen Talbot was back in the pack in the women's 500-meter speed skating final yesterday at the Winter Olympics.

She finished 20th, but she received the cheers from a knowledgeable crowd that knew of her ordeal.

Last month, Talbot, 23, donated bone marrow to her brother Jason, who has aplastic anemia and is an outpatient at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

And last Tuesday, her 66-year-old grandfather Edward Talbot died of a heart attack in Schuylerville, N.Y.

"It was tough to learn about my grandfather," she said. "I've overcome so much to get to this point. I wasn't about to let anything else get in the way.

"My mother called me Tuesday to tell me. When I first got the phone call, I thought something had happened to Jason."

But her brother is doing just fine. He watched the race at the family home in upstate New York, but is expected to return to Baltimore tomorrow for 40 more days of treatment.

Talbot said she had difficulty putting the events out of her mind. Still, she raced in front of a crowd that included her father, Gary.

"I just tried to block things out and concentrate on my race," she said. "Now, I'm relieved."

The past few weeks have taken a toll on Talbot. Physically, she is fine, recovered fully from the procedure. Emotionally, she appeared spent after the race.

"It definitely hasn't been the best of luck this year for me," she said. "But I think I've been handling it all right."

Her Olympic career has likely come to an end after three Winter Games and no medals.

"I'm happy to have competed in the three Olympics," she said. "Who knows? Maybe there will be one more. Not everyone can be a medal winner."

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