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Archive for Tuesday, February 12, 2002

s first participant in Winter Games undaunted

February 12, 2002

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— He fell early and lost his sunglasses, then got cramps and nearly threw up before pulling out less than halfway through the 30-kilometer cross-country ski race.

Undaunted, Drexel engineering professor Prawat Nagvajara will give it another go next week.

Thailand's first athlete in the Winter Games, Nagvajara believes he'll go the distance in the 1.5-kilometer sprint.

"I'll have fun. I'll finish this for sure," he said.

Nagvajara, 43, was duly impressed by the other skiers Saturday.

"They were very fast, much faster than I thought they'd be," he said. "I thought let's not interrupt the race, let's get out at the right spot."

Nagvajara said officials asked before the games if he would prefer to do the 1.5-kilometer race, but he wanted to try the 30-kilometer event. He decided if he couldn't finish the longer race, then he would also enter the sprint, scheduled for Feb. 19.

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The other sweep: When Hayes Alan Jenkins won the figure skating gold in 1956, his brother David got the bronze and teammate Ronnie Robertson the silver, it was a first for the United States in the Winter Olympics.

Americans hadn't duplicated the medals sweep  until Monday.

In a very different era and sport, Ross Powers, Danny Kass and J.J. Thomas gave America its second Winter Games medal sweep  in halfpipe snowboarding.

Hayes Alan Jenkins, now a lawyer in Cleveland, and David Jenkins, a retired doctor in Tulsa, remained tied  in quite different ways  to the Olympics.

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Hold the ice: When speedskaters KC Boutiette and Jennifer Rodriguez marry this spring, the only ice will be in the punchbowl.

Their April 13 wedding will be in Rodriguez's balmy hometown of Miami.

"We support each other on and off the ice," said Boutiette, who sharpens Rodriguez's skates. "It gives her confidence when I skate well because then she knows she can, too."

Boutiette was fifth in the 5,000 meters; Rodriguez was seventh in the 3,000 meters. Her best events, the 1,000 and 1,500, are still to come.

"KC is always an inspiration to me," she said.

The couple met in 1996 when both were inline skaters. Boutiette was the first to try speedskating, and he later encouraged Rodriguez to switch to the ice.

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Livestock trading? When the cowbell rang, traders began frantically bidding, buying and selling  2,200 miles away on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

In Wall Street's nod to the Olympics, Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson, NYSE president Cathy Kinney and Questar Corp. CEO Don Cash rang the opening bell via satellite from Salt Lake City.

Traders in New York watched a video feed as the trio rang the foot-high cowbell decorated with Olympic insignia.

It was only the third time that the opening bell was rung outside New York, and the first time it was a cowbell.

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Under fire: If goaltender Natalya Trunova felt like she had a bulls-eye painted on her forehead Monday, she had good reason. The goaltender for Kazakstan made 59 saves against Canada in their first-round hockey game. Trunova's long day of swatting and smothering and blocking the puck still wasn't enough  Canada won 7-0. Kazakstan got off just 11 shots at Canadian goalie Kim St. Pierre.

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Two thumbs up: German Interior Minister Otto Schily gave the Olympics a good review so far, even saying the security was not only perfect but "friendly." His overall assessment of the games: "Two thumbs up and a big thanks to our American friends."

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Next stop, Colorado: A major international sports meeting is coming to the home city of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The General Association of International Sports Federations, the umbrella group for Olympic sports, awarded this year's convention to Colorado Springs, Colo. The meeting will be Nov. 21-24.

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