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Even if the Cap Fits — Don't Wear It

Associated Press
Tuesday, February 17, 1998; Pace C4

The home team is doing great — Japan has won four golds and the Games are only halfway finished. So why are Japan's coaches apologizing so profusely?

It's the cap flap.

Team officials are in full damage-control mode over the failure of gold medalist Tae Satoya to remove a baseball cap during a flag-raising ceremony for her freestyle skiing victory last week.

Although Satoya's surprise gold in moguls has been cause for celebration to many, her televised podium gaffe has generated a flood of complaints to the Japan Olympic Committee.

"We, as the people responsible for the team, deeply regret this matter and offer our apologies," said Yushiro Yagi, head of Japan's delegation to the Games.

Yagi said Satoya has been reprimanded and all coaches have been instructed to exercise more caution to keep such embarrassments from recurring.

Yagi said the 21-year-old skier left the cap on because she "was afraid that her hair was a mess" and was a bit overwhelmed by the emotions of the moment.

But to make matters worse, Yagi said, Satoya also accepted a glass of champagne to celebrate the victory.

No laws were broken there — Japan's drinking age is 20.

Yagi said officials feared the champagne could have shown up on a post-competition drug test.

"But we kept her drinking mineral water to wash it out," he said.


© Copyright 1998 Washington Post Company

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