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Kwan Arrives in Japan, Displays Travel Fatigue
By Wendy E. Lane and Amy Shipley
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, February 10, 1998; Page D4

 Michelle Kwan
 Defending U.S. figure skating champion Michelle Kwan performs a spin during her first practice in Nagano. (Blake Sell/Reuters)
NAGANO, Feb. 10 (Tuesday)—Less than 12 hours after arriving here, Michelle Kwan was on the ice, skating her long program in its entirety.

Fatigue from the long trip from her home in California showed as she fell on her opening jump, a triple Lutz.

"Michelle is a little tired," said her coach, Frank Carroll, after the practice session at the practice rink adjacent to the White Ring. "She probably got about five hours sleep."

What sleep she did get was not in the athletesí village. Kwan is staying with her family in a hotel, choosing peace and quiet over the chance to live with her U.S. teammates and other athletes. Staying at a hotel was Kwanís decision, Carroll said.

"I think itís very important for her to be comfortable and for her to rest," he said. "Iíve stayed in many Olympic villages. I myself know they can be very noisy and distracting. Itís not that she wouldnít like to do that. . . . Itís fabulous to participate in this, but Michelle will feel more fabulous if she skates very well here."

That is what everyone expects Kwan, the gold medal favorite, to do, given her soaring performance last month at the U.S. championships in Philadelphia, where she drew 15 of a possible 18 perfect 6.0 marks for artistry while skating on an injured toe. Kwan remained in California, missing the Opening Ceremonies, so she could receive additional treatment for the stress fracture in a toe on her left foot.

"She wanted very much to be a part of that, but the doctor wanted to keep her at home as long as possible and to keep working on her foot, which is much better," Carroll said. "Itís not completely healed yet but it is better than it was at nationals and sheís feeling better on it every day."

While Kwan practices here in preparation for the short program Feb. 18, her two teammates, Tara Lipinski and Nicole Bobek, are elsewhere. Lipinski is training in Osaka, while Bobek will not leave her training site in California until Thursday.

Dionne Testifies
U.S. bobsledder Mike Dionne testified Monday night in front of an arbitration court that an over-the-counter cold medication combined with a natural supplement were responsible for the banned drug ephedrine discovered by a Nov. 22 drug test.

Dionne received a three-month suspension last week by the International Bobsled Federation for the results of the drug test. In a three-hour hearing in front of the International Court for Arbitration in Sports at a Nagano hotel, Dionneís representatives argued that he wasnít cheating or using performance-enhancing drugs.

A decision is expected by Tuesday night. Dionne hopes to have a chance to win one of the two U.S. team slots in the four-man bobsled, which gets underway Feb. 20. Dionne is a pusher in the third-ranked sled driven by Todd Hays. It is possible his suspension could be lifted and he still would not compete in the Olympic Games.

"Heís back in the athletesí village," said attorney David Kurtz, the vice president of the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation. "An adverse ruling for him will mean he will lose his credential, have to turn back his Olympic uniform and leave the village. Itís very difficult for him."

Flying Backward
The German hockey team has the same eagle on its uniforms as it does on its national flag. But the eagle emblems on the Olympic uniforms were affixed backward. It was expected to be reversed in time for Germanyís game Tuesday night.

Bobsled Tragedy
A promising bobsledder hoping to compete in the next Winter Olympics was killed during the weekend when he was struck by a pickup truck while walking along a highway in Marlboro, N.J.

Clark "C.J." Ferry had gone out with friends and was hit by the truck on Route 9 about 3:30 a.m. Saturday, his uncle said Monday.

Ferry was one of 25 bobsledders on the national development team, which trains for domestic and World Cup competitions.

Traffic Unjammed
Heavy restrictions on traffic during the Olympics got their first real test in a weekday rush hour Monday, and held up better than expected.

Traffic was actually lighter in some areas of town than usual, police said, reflecting increased use of carpools and buses.

Concerns over transportation during the games have been high because of Naganoís narrow, crowded streets and relatively poor mass transit system.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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