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Estimate on Damages to Rooms Upped to $3,000

From Staff and Wire Reports
Saturday, February 21, 1998; Page B6

After a more detailed inspection of the Olympic athletes' village, Nagano Organizing Committee officials increased the estimated cost of the damage inflicted by the U.S. men's hockey team early Thursday morning. Both the U.S. Olympic Committee and the NHL offered to pay for the $3,000 in damages, up from an estimate of $1,000 on Friday.

The damage spread through three apartments, instead of two as originally believed. Ten chairs were broken, and three fire extinguishers were emptied. Six of the chairs and one of the fire extinguishers were then thrown from the fifth floor into the courtyard below; no injuries were reported. One door was dented, as were several walls. Floors and beds also were damaged.

A NAOC spokesman was unusually critical when asked if he was happy with apologies issued by the NHL, the NHL Players Association and USA Hockey.

"I'm not happy; it's a very sad incident," Ko Yamaguchi said. "It was a very dangerous incident, not in line with the Olympic spirit.

"These things should not happen. The Olympic Village should be respected."

The damage occurred hours after the Americans were eliminated from the Olympic tournament in a 4-1 loss to the Czech Republic. NAOC would not identify which players were assigned to the damaged rooms, and the NHL and USA Hockey are jointly investigating the incident to determine the players involved.

U.S. Coach Ron Wilson, also the coach of the Washington Capitals, declined to comment on the incident when spotted in the stands during the Czech Republic's 2-1 win over Canada.

Dancing in the Streets
Hundreds of students poured into Prague's central Wenceslas Square yesterday to celebrate the Czech Republic's victory over favorite Canada in a heart-stop ping Olympic semifinal.

Students sprayed champagne over themselves and passers-by after the Czech team's 2-1 victory in a shootout.

Celebrating crowds shouted "Hasek for president," referring to goalie Dominik Hasek, who stopped all five of Canada's shots in the shootout, and "gold, gold, gold" as they waved Czech flags and drivers blasted their horns.

Russian Rebellion
Russian women, supreme on the cross-country skiing circuit, are rebelling against the training methods of sports authorities that they say dates from the Soviet era.

Larissa Lazutina and newcomer Yulia Chepalova said yesterday they expect to see changes in the Russian program following their Olympic success, achieved with their own trainers.

Lazutina, with three gold medals, one silver and a bronze, told a news conference: "I think we will shake up the federation."

"It is much easier to train with my father [Anatoly Chepalov, Russian junior cross-country team coach in 1996] because in the national team there's only one coach to look after everybody," Chepalova said.

Going to Any Length
The International Ski Federation is considering limits on the length of jumping skis that could handicap shorter athletes.

Harald Aarhus of Norway, the chairman of the Nordic combined committee in the FIS, said the proposal is aimed at allowing "normal and grown-up" jumpers to win, "not just very young and thin."

Under the proposal, the maximum length of jumping skis would be 146 percent of a jumper's height. The present rules allow skis that are up to 31½ inches longer than a jumper's height, with a ceiling of 110 inches.

For example, a 5-foot-7 jumper now is allowed skis of about 98.5 inches, but under the new rules would be restricted to no more than 97.7 inches. A 5-11 skier, now restricted to 102.4 inches, would be allowed 103.5 inches.

Ski jumpers tend to be short and light, and longer skis give them a better lift for longer jumping distances.

Aarhus said the proposal was not aimed at Japanese jumpers, who won the 120K and the team gold medals at the Nagano Games. He said FIS officials were worried about young jumpers becoming afflicted with eating disorders, although he said he knows of no such cases.

When asked to comment, Japanese ski jumping coach Mana bu Ono said he thought the proposed rule would handicap shorter jumpers.

The FIS general congress will rule on the proposal during its session in Prague in May, Aarhus said.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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