Originally created 02/13/98
Notebook from Nagano
NAGANO -- Quirky weather continued to plague the 1998 Winter Olympics Thursday, forcing postponements and creating nasty conditions for some events that went ahead.
Alpine skiing schedules have been revised several times because of snow, fog and rain. This time rain cancelled the men's downhill for the second time, moving it to Friday, with the men's combined downhill. If the weather cooperates the men's super G and women's downhill will be Saturday and the women's combined downhill will be Sunday.
Bobsled practice runs were cancelled by the rain, snowboard halfpipe went ahead, but was drenched by rain and cross-country skiers had to guess about the right wax for their race in the rain. Organizers are hoping for a few days of good weather so they can get the Alpine skiing in.
Italian Alpine superstar Alberto Tomba, appearing in his fourth Olympics, told reporters Thursday he is getting old and tired.
"I'm rather tired," he said. "I'm 31 years old, and I'm making plans for the future. As far as I can tell my future will be in sports. I've been asked to be in films and an ambassador around the world for companies. But I have to return home. I've been away 15 years. I do hope to find the right girl at this point."
American speed skater K.C. Boutiette set an Olympic record in the 1,500 meters, but it was only good enough for fifth place in a race won by Norway's Aadne Sondral, who cut a full second from the existing world record. Ids Postma of the Netherlands was second and former world record holder Rintje Ritsma of the Netherlands was third. "Five years ago, if you had asked me what I'd be doing now, I would have told you that I'd be digging ditches," said Boutiette. "But instead, I'm at the Olymics and I just took fifth place. There's nothing disappointing in that to me."
Bobsledder Chip Minton, who's also a professional wrestler and a former Georgia prison guard, can't stay out of the news. His roommate, top U.S. driver Brian Shimer, told this story about Minton: "One of the funniest things I ever saw happened here with him. He was on the phone doing an interview or something. The guy gets more press than anyone. And he's sitting in a wooden chair. Suddenly it breaks while he's on the phone and he does this slow motion fall to the floor. "We're on the third floor. I thought he was goin' all the way down to the first. He's done that to about four chairs since we've been here. They're all piled up in a corner of our room. Looks like kindling wood."
Norway beat the U.S. women's curling team 9-8, but both teams had already been eliminated from the medal round, which will include Sweden, Canada, Denmark and Great Brittain. The Americans had a lead about halfway through, but Norway surged ahead 8-5 before the Americans tied the match and forced an extra end.