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Trashing Damage Worse Than Original Estimate

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 were also 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 Re public's 2-1 win over Canada.

In a separate incident, a pane of Plexiglas fell on Canadian bobsledder Matt Hindle earlier the same night, cutting his hands and shoulder. The USOC denies any hockey players were involved, saying it has surveyed 25 of the athletes in the village at the time and that no hockey players were present. The incident occurred around 8 p.m.

USOC spokesman Mike Mor an also denied a report that the pane of glass came from a walkway outside the apartment of a U.S. hockey player. Still, Hindle has been speaking to a lawyer, declining to answer several questions yesterday "on the advice of my counsel."

"I'm definitely going to explore my rights and options," Hindle said. "It didn't just fall out. When I looked up afterward, there was still a piece of glass hanging there."

Earthquake Hits

A moderate earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.0 shook parts of central Japan, including Winter Olympics sites. One injury was reported in Niigata state; part of a highway was buried by a landslide, and service on Japan's "bullet" train was halted for about two hours.

Shoji Nezu, a 74-year-old resident of Niigata, was hospitalized with a possible broken arm when a TV set fell off dresser and struck him, said Tadanobu Maruyama of the Niigata prefectural police. A landslide believed triggered by the quake blocked traffic on one side of a section of the national highway in Niigata prefecture, Maruyama said, but no one was hurt.

The quake was centered 12 miles underground in Niigata state on the Sea of Japan coast in central Japan, the Meteorological Agency said.

The temblor was also felt in Nagano, where the Games are in their next-to-last day. It struck at 9:55 a.m. (7:55 p.m. EST Friday night), the agency said, and was reported as a Level 3 quake.

Beds shook in the Asahi Media Village, where many of the international media corps covering the games are staying. In the main media center downtown, ventilation pipes swayed and floors shuddered.

Moseley Puts on Show

Olympic gold medalist Jonny Moseley, the free-spirited Californian who won the freestyle moguls last week, performed two daring jumps off a giant ramp in the theater district for a segment on the "Late Show with David Letterman."

Jumping off a 40-foot high by 60-foot long ramp lined with a plastic carpet, Moseley repeated his trademark helicopter jump that helped give the United States its first medal of the Nagano Games.

On his second leap, the 22-year-old daredevil took off as a canon-like device blasted a stream of smoke across the ramp. He did both jumps during a downpour before hundreds of cheering fans next to the Ed Sullivan Theater, where the Letterman show is taped.

"That was a lot scarier than Nagano," Moseley said. "There was concrete all around me and the ramp was really narrow. I'm just happy to get out of here alive."

The jumps were shown on Friday night's program.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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