Countdown Olympics

January 29, 1998

Days until opening ceremonies: 9.

Snowfall: One-third of an inch in Nagano City, no new snow on men's downhill course. That left 7 inches in Nagano City, and 6 feet, 6 1/2 inches on the downhill course.

Update: Hawaiian-born sumo wrestler Akebono will perform a traditional rite of purification at the opening ceremonies. Akebono, a naturalized Japanese citizen, holds sumo's highest rank of grand champion. The other grand champion, Takanohana, had been cast for the part, but bowed out because of illness.

Going for the gold: Two NHL trainers estimate that 20 percent of the league's players use Sudafed, an over-the-counter antihistamine. The medicine contains pseudoephedrine, a stimulant banned by the International Olympic Committee. Martina Ertl of Germany, peaking just before the Games, captured her third straight World Cup giant slalom victory last night in Are, Sweden. Competing in history's first GS under the floodlights, Ertl finished with a two-run total of 2 minutes, 6 seconds on the 1,185-meter Gastrappet course. Both runs had 49 gates. She was .86 of a second ahead of Sonja Nef of Switzerland. Canadian downhiller Cary Mullen, still feeling the effects of a horrific skiing crash in December in Colorado, called off his bid to compete in Nagano.

Pub Date: 1/29/98

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