Katarina Witt of East Germany edged American Debi Thomas in the short program (four-tenths of a point separated them) but still trails overall (Thomas is at 2.0 and Witt at 2.2 in the factored placings). The two are so close, though, that whichever wins tonight's long program -- accounting for 50 percent of the total score -- will take the gold medal. In third place and the likely bronze medalist is Elizabeth Manley of Canada, followed by Soviet Kira Ivanova and long shot American Jill Trenary.
Alberto (La Bomba) Tomba of Italy goes for his second gold medal as the Alpine competition wraps up at Nakiska with the men's slalom. The talk is still of a showdown between Tomba and Swiss downhill gold medalist Pirmin Zurbriggen, but this is Zurbriggen's worst event; a fourth-place finish is his best in the slalom on the World Cup circuit this season. Others to watch: Marc Girardelli of Luxembourg and Sweden's legendary Ingemar Stenmark, although he didn't even bother to finish Thursday's giant slalom.
American Bonnie Blair is a long shot in the women's 1,500 meters, which should be dominated by East Germans Jacqueline Boerner, Karin Enke-Kania, Andrea Ehrig and Gabi Zange.
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING:
Soviet Vladimir Smirnov and Swedes Gunde Svan and Torgny Mogren, along with Italian Maurilio De Zolt, are among the top contenders in the grueling men's 50-kilometer (skating style) race. Call it a skiing marathon because the Olympic record time in this event is 2 hours 15 minutes 55.8 seconds.
The U.S. team will try to stop bickering and start racing in the first day of the two-day, four-man competition. Willie Gault or no Willie Gault, these two runs and the two on Sunday should belong to the East Germans, Swiss (below, practicing), Austrians and Soviets. -- Sandra Bailey
Vreni Schneider of Switzerland won her second gold medal in three days, scoring the largest margin of victory in the Olympic slalom in 28 years. The silver medal went to Mateja Svet of Yugoslavia, who finished 1.68 seconds behind Schneider. Christa Kinshofer-Guetlein of West Germany added a bronze to the silver she won in the giant slalom. Tamara McKinney of the United States didn't complete the first run.
Forget that gold medal game Sunday. The Soviets wasted no time clinching the gold, doing so a full two days before the end of the Games, as they routed the supposedly tough Swedes, 7-1. Czechoslovakia, out of medal contention, played the spoiler, defeating Finland, 5-2, and putting the Soviets in position to clinch the top spot. The Finns clinched at least a bronze medal earlier in the day when Canada beat West Germany, 8-1.
Bonnie Blair of the United States won the bronze medal in the women's 1,000 meters. Christa Rothenburger of East Germany won the gold and teammate Karin Enke-Kania the silver. Blair, of Champaign, Ill., earlier won the 500 in world-record time.
The Soviets won the 4x7.5-kilometer relay, extending the Winter Olympics' longest winning streak to six. The silver went to West Germany and the bronze to Italy. Soviet Valeri Medvedtsev, who already had won two silvers, anchored the victory and became the fifth triple medalist of the Games. The Soviets' time was 1 hour 22 minutes 30.0 seconds. The U.S. team was ninth among the 16 teams and team leader Josh Thompson, who earlier had finishes of 25th and 27th places in individual races, said, "I've never had three bad races like this in my life." It was the last Olympic race for five-time U.S. Olympian Lyle Nelson. -Sandra Bailey