Olympic Trivia February 20

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2002

TV listings for Wednesday, 2-19

All times EST

MSNBC 1-6 p.m. -- Hockey, men: quarterfinals, Sweden vs. Belarus (1 p.m.);

Czech Republic vs. Russia (3:30).

NBC 4-5 p.m. -- Biathlon: men's 4x7.5 K relay.

CNBC 6 p.m-12:30 a.m. -- Hockey, men: quarterfinals, US vs. Germany (6 p.m., to be concluded on NBC); Finland vs. Canada (10:15 p.m.).

NBC 8-11:30 p.m. -- Alpine skiing: women's slalom. Skeleton: men's and

women's final. Short track speed skating: women's 3,000 relay; men's 1,500.

Hockey, men: quarterfinals, conclusion of US men vs. Germany. Speed skating:

women's 1,500.

Olympic Classroom

Today's question comes from Lynn in North Augusta, S.C.

"Recently, the women's downhill and the "short" ski jump were delayed because of weather. Have the Olympics ever been extended because events could not be held within the time allotted for the games? What happens if an event at the end of the games is postponed because of weather?''

It is possible for an event that was postponed by weather to be completed after the Closing Ceremonies and that has happened several times in the past.

But in an attempt to prevent that possibility, most events subject to weather delays ski jumping, alpine skiing are scheduled to be completed several days before the end of the Games. The last skiing event, the men's

slalom, is scheduled for Saturday, the day before the close. The only events

scheduled for Sunday are cross-country skiing, which is contested in any kind of

weather, and the men's hockey gold medal game, which is played indoors.

Fast Ice

The ice surface at the Utah Olympic Oval has been both productive and popular so far in the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Six long-track speed skating events have been contested there in the first two weeks of the Salt Lake City Games and the world record has been broken in four of them. Insiders expect records to be set in each of the remaining four events as well.

The reason might be as much the air as the ice. At nearly 5,000 feet above sea level, the Olympic Oval is the world's highest speed-skating track. Although endurance athletes suffer at high altitudes, speed tends to improve.

Americans Casey FitzRandolph (men's 500-meters) and Chris Witty (women's 1000m) are responsible for half of the records set in speed skating so far.

No Ski Wax in the Huddle

U.S. freestyle skier Jeremy Bloom has lost his one-sided fight with the NCAA.

Bloom, who put a Division-I football scholarship on hold in order to compete in the 2002 Olympics, has been told he can not accept skiing-related endorsements if he intends to play at Colorado next season.

Bloom had argued that he should be allowed to accept money from sponsors because freestyle skiing is not an NCAA sport and thereby does not create a conflict of interest. However, NCAA rules prohibit a player from endorsing any products based on his athletic ability.

Today's Olympic Lesson

Design and simple laws of physics make the Utah Olympic Oval the fastest speed skating track in the world. It is also at a higher altitude than any in the world. The oval has a low-hanging roof. That not only keeps the spectators warm but draws the warmth closer to the ice, melting it slightly and making it slicker. So, the skaters get the best of two dynamics: The solid depth of the ice allows them to get a good grip with their skates while the wet, slick surface allows them to quickly glide across the ice.

Neat to Know

Trading collectible pins is one of the major pastimes at the Winter Olympics. At these Games, one of the most popular pins was the green Jell-O pin, which often traded at a rate of seven-to-one. FBI and secret service pins are also on heavy demand.

In a Name

U.S. figure skater Sarah Hughes was named after Judge Sarah T. Hughes, the judge who swore President Lyndon B. Johnson into office after the Kennedy Assassination.

Pop Quiz

Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium, where the opening and closing ceremonies are held, is normally used by what group? (Yesterday's answer: The U.S. won a record 13 medals in the Winter Games in 1994 at Lillehammer, Norway, and in 1998 at Nagano, Japan).

Story Time

Phillip Boit was one of a noted group of distance runners from Kenya. He was recruited by a sporting apparrel company to represent the African country in 1998 in cross-country skiing at Nagano. He trained in Helsinki, Finland, which he noted was "like somebody put me in the fridge and closed the door." In the Olympics, he finished last in a 10K event, crossing the finish line seven minutes behind the next slowest competitor and 20 minutes slower than the gold medalist. When he finally reached the finish line, one fellow skiier was waiting for him, Bjorn Daehlie, the gold medalist from Norway.

Name Game

Which country uses the official Olympic initials CYP. (Yesterday's answer: FRG is Germany (Federal Republic of Germany).

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