Great things are expected from Italian sensation Alberto (La Bomba) Tomba, who washed out in the super giant slalom, as the men run one of his specialties -- the giant slalom. A sentimental favorite will be Sweden's Ingemar Stenmark, 31, who was banned from the '84 Games because he lost his amateur status, but regained his eligibility in time to compete this year. Downhill gold medalist Pirmin Zurbriggen of Switzerland is always a threat, although he is not a slalomist. Don't be surprised to see Austria's Hubert Strolz, winner of the super giant slalom, or teammate and Super G silver medalist Helmut Mayer in contention.


The second day of the competition, featuring world champion and defending gold medalist Katarina Witt of East Germany and U.S. champion Debi Thomas, should be electric, as the women skate their short programs (accounting for 20 percent of the final score). After yesterday's compulsories, Thomas and Witt were 2-3, respectively, behind Soviet Kira Ivanova, who is usually strong in the school figures.


Anette Boe of Norway, Marie-Helen Westin of Sweden and Marjo Matikainen and Anfisa Retzova of the Soviet Union are the top competitors in the women's 20-kilometer race. The skiing will be skating style rather than the classic ski style. The skating style is faster than the classic and in skating-style races, skiers take strides that resemble those of hockey players and push off their skis using a V-shaped motion. Also, in skating races (which include the women's 20K, the men's 50K and the relay) there are no pre-cut tracks.


The United States, which had hopes of attaining the medal round before three losses, instead goes for seventh place against Switzerland today. "It'll be tough getting up for tomorrow," admitted U.S. goalie Mike Richter yesterday.