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Weiss Finds a Big Fan in Frerotte

By Jennifer Frey and Wendy E. Lane
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, February 7, 1998; Page D4

NAGANO, Feb. 6 — Much to his delight, Fairfax's Michael Weiss has an unexpected new fan following his pursuit of a medal in men's figure skating at the Winter Games. Before he departed the Washington area for Japan several days ago, Weiss received an autographed jersey from Redskins quarterback Gus Frerotte, who also sent a limousine to Weiss's house to ferry him to the airport for his flight. Apparently, after seeing a television interview in which Weiss professed his childhood love of the Redskins, Frerotte decided to make contact with his fellow Washington area athlete.

"I guess he heard that I'm a big Gus Frerotte supporter and he figures he needs all the supporters he can get," Weiss said.

Asked if that support wavered when Frerotte head-butted a concrete wall after a midseason touchdown pass, forcing him to leave the game (a 7-7 tie with the New York Giants), Weiss smiled.

"I believed in him all the time," he said. "Maybe if I land the quadruple Lutz I'll head-butt the side of the rink."

Weiss's love of the local teams is not limited to the Redskins. A former hockey player himself, he follows the Capitals and hopes to meet Peter Bondra, who is here competing for Slovakia, in the Olympic Village. Then again, Weiss doesn't expect the NHL players (Bondra included) to recognize him.

"Yeah, I'm sure they're probably all sitting around watching figure skating," Weiss said, laughing at the thought. "Then again, I'm sure all their wives are watching."

Small Attraction
Cross-country skiing drew the biggest and loudest crowds of the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, where the sport is a national pastime and Norwegians raked in six medals. Such enthusiasm isn't present here, where ticket sales for those events are lagging.

Organizers said today about half the tickets remain unsold just three days before the first race.

"I'm not satisfied with the sales and I'd like more people to come," said Hiroaki Kato, manager of the Snow Harp venue.

The stadium at Snow Harp seats 17,000, but ticket sales are averaging 8,000 for each of the 10 cross-country events in Hakuba, about an hour's drive from Nagano.

Big Attraction
Musashimaru, the Hawaiian-born sumo wrestler who was to lead the U.S. team into the Opening Ceremonies, is at age 26 near the pinnacle of his sport, having attained the second-highest level in the sumo world. He believes he will be promoted soon, but his real dream of an athletic pursuit lies far from Japan.

"That's my dream, to play nose tackle in the NFL," he said. "I want to play for the Green Bay Packers. They lost the Super Bowl, but that's all right."

The wrestler, whose name means "Big Ship on the Ocean," weighs in at about 450 pounds, making Green Bay's Gilbert Brown seem like a lightweight.

Cold Shoulder?
International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch said today he thought it unlikely that any new sports would be added for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Although myriad sports, including golf, women's boxing and ballroom dancing, have been lobbying for years to become part of the Summer Games, the winter schedule is not as tight. For these Games, curling, snowboarding and women's hockey were added.

"It is not easy to find new sports for the Winter Games," he said. "But there is room for new sports."

The requirements for inclusion into the Winter Olympics are restrictive, beginning with the stipulation that all sports must be played on snow or ice.

Kariya Questionable
Canadian hockey star Paul Kariya, unable to play for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks since suffering a concussion this past Sunday night in a game against Chicago, could miss the Olympics.

"He doesn't feel any better today-not at all," Ducks Coach Pierre Page told the Orange County Register on Thursday. "When he drives his car and hits a bump, he gets a headache. That says it all. He's not clear right now, that's for sure. His thinking is not clear."

Physician Craig Millhouse told the newspaper that the Ducks are waiting for test results measuring Kariya's special skills and motor functions. The results will be compared to those from similar tests Kariya underwent before suffering the concussion-the fourth of his career.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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