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Archive for Thursday, January 31, 2002

Medal outlook

January 31, 2002

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Alpine skiing: Bode Miller is the fastest slalom skier in the world when he's not sprawled out on the snow. The 24-year-old from Franconia, N.H., crashes often but has four World Cup victories this season. Picabo Street will be back to defend her gold medal in the Super G, but two years away from ski racing following a horrific crash has taken its toll.

Curling: An Olympic medal sport for the first time, with Canada favored for the gold. The U.S. team could sneak in and grab a medal if the stones slide right.

Figure skating: With a coach or without, Michelle Kwan is a favorite. She will probably duel with Russia's Irina Slutskaya for the gold that eluded her despite a near flawless performance in Nagano. On the men's side, 30-year-old Todd Eldredge will have to overcome his aversion to the quad to have a chance to medal.

Ice hockey: Herb Brooks can't recreate the "Miracle on Ice," mostly because the Soviet Union doesn't exist anymore. And now NHL All-Stars fill the rosters of several countries, leaving the United States with its work cut out for it if it hopes to medal. Things are more clear-cut on the women's side, where the U.S. team goes for a second gold.

Speedskating: Apolo Anton Ohno is the defending World Cup short-track champion and should contend for medals in four events.

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