Medal Picks SI'S FEARLESS FORECAST XVIII Olympic Winter Games

February 09, 1998

Who will be the brightest stars during the 16 days in Nagano?
Who could give the U.S. a shot in the biathlon? Who will be the
next Bonnie Blair? Who will emerge as the top female hockey
player? Here are our peerless prognosticator's choices to take
home all 204 medals

Alpine Skiing

Just in time to reascend the Olympic medal stand, two crowd
pleasers are peaking: Alberto Tomba and Picabo Street. But no
non-Teuton will have it easy: The Austrian men have won 21 of 24
races this season, and Germany's Katja Seizinger has won eight.
American prospects are brightest in freestyle and snowboarding,
which is making its Olympic debut.

MEN

DOWNHILL
February 8
Hermann Maier, Austria
Didier Cuche, Switzerland
Jean-Luc Cretier, France
U.S. Top 15 is the best 1994 Olympic champ Tommy Moe can expect.

GIANT SLALOM
February 18
Hermann Maier, Austria
Michael von Gruningen, Switzerland
Christian Mayer, Austria
U.S. Bode Miller, 20, could repeat his best finish--11th at Park
City in '97.

SLALOM
February 21
Alberto Tomba, Italy
Thomas Stangassinger, Austria
Thomas Sykora, Austria
U.S. Matt Grosjean, 27 and a father of two, had two top 10
finishes in '96 and could earn another here.

SUPER G
February 13
Hermann Maier, Austria
Andreas Schifferer, Austria
Lasse Kjus, Norway
U.S. Daron Rahlves, '93 world jet ski champ, could power into
the top six.

COMBINED
February 9 and 11
Kjetil-Andre Aamodt, Norway
Hermann Maier, Austria
Lasse Kjus, Norway
U.S. Slalom specialist Grosjean is the only American with a
chance at the top eight.

WOMEN

DOWNHILL
February 14
Picabo Street, U.S.
Katja Seizinger, Germany
Isolde Kostner, Italy
U.S. Despite a wild spill in her last pre-Olympic race, '94
silver medalist Pic is the pick to dethrone Seizinger as Olympic
champ.

GIANT SLALOM
February 20
Deborah Campagnoni, Italy
Martina Ertl, Germany
Alexandra Meissnitzer, Austria
U.S. Alex Shaffer and Sarah Schleper could be top 25.

SLALOM
February 19
Ylva Nowen, Sweden
Kristina Koznick, U.S.
Urska Hrovat, Slovenia
U.S. With top six finishes in all seven slalom races this
season, Koznick should ace the course at Shiga Kogen.

SUPER G
February 10
Katja Seizinger, Germany
Hilde Gerg, Germany
Heidi Zurbriggen, Switzerland
U.S. Street could mount the medal stand here, while Kirsten
Clark may improve on her top finish (12th at Val d'Isere in
December).

COMBINED
February 15 and 17
Katja Seizinger, Germany
Renate Gotschl, Austria
Hilde Gerg, Germany
U.S. Barring a last-minute decision by coaches in Nagano, no
Americans will compete in this event.

MEN'S FREESTYLE

MOGULS
February 8 and 11
Jean-Luc Brassard, Canada
Jonny Moseley, U.S.
Jesper Ronnback, Sweden
U.S. Moseley, '96 overall World Cup champ, is a mogul man now.

AERIALS
February 16 and 18
Eric Bergoust, U.S.
Nicolas Fontaine, Canada
Andy Capicik, Canada
U.S. Bergoust was second on this hill in '97--five weeks after
breaking his collarbone.

WOMEN'S FREESTYLE

MOGULS
February 8 and 11
Candice Gilg, France
Liz McIntyre, U.S.
Tatjana Mittermayer, Germany
U.S. McIntyre, a Frazier (Colo.) city council member, ran second
in '94 too.

AERIALS
February 16 and 18
Nikki Stone, U.S.
Kristie Marshall, Australia
Caroline Olivier, Canada
U.S. The '95 world champ, Stone is back on top.

MEN'S SNOWBOARDING

GIANT SLALOM
February 8
Dieter Happ, Austria
Martin Freinademetz, Austria
Mike Jacoby, U.S.
U.S. Big events bring out the best in Jacoby, second at the '97
worlds.

HALF-PIPE
February 12
Ross Powers, U.S.
Fabien Rohrer, Switzerland
Daniel Franck, Norway
U.S. Two days after turning 19, Powers will get a golden present.

WOMEN'S SNOWBOARDING

GIANT SLALOM
February 9
Karine Ruby, France
Rosey Fletcher, U.S.
Heidi Renoth, Germany
U.S. Fletcher, a 22-year-old with a raven tattoo on her arm, is
strong.

HALF-PIPE
February 12
Stine Brun Kjeldaas, Norway
Anita Schwaller, Switzerland
Michele Taggart, U.S.
U.S. Fifth at the '97 worlds just three months after breaking
her left leg, Taggart is a terror.

Bobsled & Luge

Bobsledders from Germany and Canada will be strong on the 15
turns of the Spiral, while the Swiss have lost some panache and
the U.S. is bound to be shut out for the 11th straight Olympics.
The Americans, however, should take home their first medals ever
in the luge.

BOBSLED

TWO-MAN
February 14 and 15
Lueders & MacEachern, Canada
Langen & Zimmermann, Germany
Huber & Tartaglia, Italy
U.S. Brian Shimer and Randy Jones won two World Cup races last
season and could take home a medal from Japan, too.

FOUR-MAN
February 20 and 21
Germany (driver: Harald Czudaj)
Switzerland (driver: Marcel Rohner)
Austria (driver: Hubert Schosser)
U.S. Driver Shimer and his crew have a better chance for a
medal in the big sled: In two World Cup races on the Spiral last
February, they finished first and second.

MEN'S LUGE

SINGLES
February 8 and 9
Georg Hackl, Germany
Markus Prock, Austria
Wendel Suckow, U.S.
U.S. Suckow, the '93 world champ, won on the Spiral last
February and should excel there again--even Hackl says so.

DOUBLES
February 13
Grimmette & Martin, U.S.
Schiegl & Schiegl, Austria
Brugger & Huber, Italy
U.S. This year Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin became the second
U.S. duo to win a season points title; the 1997 champs, Chris
Thorpe and Gordy Sheer, could also come away with a medal.

WOMEN'S LUGE

SINGLES
February 10 and 11
Susi Erdmann, Germany
Andrea Tagwerker, Austria
Silke Kraushaar, Germany
U.S. The 29-year-old flag-bearer from Lillehammer, Cammy Myler,
in her fourth--and, she says, last--Olympics, is shooting for
her first medal.

Figure Skating

New faces from old places. Nancy and Tonya are gone, but
youngsters Michelle Kwan and Tara Lipinski will sparkle in their
stead. As usual in the pairs and the dance the Russians will
shine brightest.

MEN
February 12 and 14
Ilia Kulik, Russia
Elvis Stojko, Canada
Todd Eldredge, U.S.
U.S. If Eldredge, the '96 world champ, lands his quad, he could
move up; if 21-year-old Michael Weiss lands his, he could too.

WOMEN
February 18 and 20
Michelle Kwan, U.S.
Tara Lipinski, U.S.
Nicole Bobek, U.S.
U.S. With little competition from Europe, the first sweep by any
nation in this event is within reach.

PAIRS
February 8 and 10
Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze, Russia
Wotzel & Steuer, Germany
Kasakova & Dmitriev, Russia
U.S. Kyoko Ina and Jason Dungjen, fourth at the 1997 worlds,
could jump into the top three.

DANCE
February 13, 15 and 16
Grishuk & Platov, Russia
Bourne & Kraatz, Canada
Krylova & Ovsyannikov, Russia
U.S. Elizabeth Punsalan and Jerod Swallow should improve on
their 15th in '94. Teens Jessica Joseph and Charles Butler are a
duo to watch.

Hockey & Curling

The NHL has shut down for the Games, freeing its stars to field
several Dream Teams. Women's hockey, making its debut, boasts
two stellar teams as well. Two medals apiece for the U.S. and
Canada are a given, but which color? In curling the Canadians
will win two more, but can they sweep?

MEN'S HOCKEY
February 7-22
U.S.
Canada
Sweden
U.S. The team beat Canada in the '96 World Cup. Why not again?

WOMEN'S HOCKEY
February 8-17
Canada
U.S.
Finland
U.S. In the 13 games between these Canadian and American teams,
their goal totals are exactly even.

MEN'S CURLING
February 9-15
Sweden (skip: Peter Lindholm)
Germany (skip: Andy Kapp)
Canada (skip: Mike Harris)
U.S. Tim Somerville, son of curling great Bud Somerville, and
his team should battle Norway for fourth.

WOMEN'S CURLING
February 9-15
Canada (skip: Sandra Schmirler)
Sweden (skip: Elisabet Gustafson)
U.S. (skip: Lisa Schoeneberg)
U.S. Two-time world silver medalist Schoeneberg could snatch gold.

Nordic Skiing

The Norwegian men and Russian women should prevail in
cross-country, while Germany should dominate the biathlon. The
Japanese jumpers, accustomed to the tricky winds of Hakuba,
figure to clean up at home, while the U.S. could land its first
medal ever in the combined.

MEN'S BIATHLON

10K
February 17
Ole Einar Bjorndalen, Norway
Ricco Gross, Germany
Sven Fischer, Germany
U.S. Jay Hakkinen, 20, was world junior champion in this event
in '97.

20K
February 11
Sven Fischer, Germany
Viktor Maigurov, Russia
Ole Einar Bjorndalen, Norway
U.S. Alaskan fisherman Hakkinen should reel in a top 25 finish.

4 x 7.5K RELAY
February 21
Germany
Russia
Norway
U.S. Finishing 13th would be lucky.

WOMEN'S BIATHLON

7.5K
February 15
Petra Behle, Germany
Magdalena Forsberg, Sweden
Uschi Disl, Germany
U.S. Dartmouth grad Stacey Wooley was 12th in the 7.5 at the '97
worlds.

15K
February 9
Magdalena Forsberg, Sweden
Galina Koukleva, Russia
Andrea Grasic, Slovenia
U.S. Wooley, who trains in Germany, has her sights on a top 20
finish.

4 x 7.5 K RELAY
February 19
Germany
Norway
Russia
U.S. Ninth would be a victory.

MEN'S CROSS-COUNTRY

10K CLASSICAL STYLE
February 12
Bjorn Daehlie, Norway
Sture Sivertsen, Norway
Mika Myllyla, Finland
U.S. England-born Maine resident Marcus Nash looks to be headed
for the top 25.

15K PURSUIT FREESTYLE
February 14
Bjorn Daehlie, Norway
Thomas Alsgaard, Norway
Silvio Fauner, Italy
U.S. After tearing thumb ligaments in '96 and breaking his back
in '97, Justin Wadsworth would do well to place 25th.

30K CLASSICAL STYLE
February 9
Vladimir Smirnov, Kazakhstan
Mika Myllyla, Finland
Erling Jevne, Norway
U.S. A long way to go for sprinter Nash, but he should still
climb into the top 30.

50K FREESTYLE
February 22
Pietro Piller Cottrer, Italy
Bjorn Daehlie, Norway
Alexei Prokurorov, Russia
U.S. Since an enlarged liver knocked him out of the 1994 trials,
John Bauer has been pointing to Nagano; top 40 would be swell.

4 x 10K RELAY--MIXED STYLE
February 18
Norway
Italy
Finland
U.S. Better than most: The Americans are in the top half among
the 20 entrants.

WOMEN'S CROSS-COUNTRY

5K CLASSICAL STYLE
February 10
Elena Vaelbe, Russia
Stefania Belmondo, Italy
Larissa Lazhutina, Russia
U.S. Vermonter Kerrin Petty, who trains in Mora, Sweden, is back
after a virus sidelined her in '97; she could make the top 25.

10K PURSUIT FREESTYLE
February 12
Elena Vaelbe, Russia
Katerina Neumannova, Czech Republic
Stefania Belmondo, Italy
U.S. Minneapolis teacher Suzanne King, who started racing after
graduating from Dartmouth in '86, should make the grade in the
top 30.

15K CLASSICAL STYLE
February 8
Larissa Lazhutina, Russia
Bente Martinsen, Norway
Elena Vaelbe, Russia
U.S. If Norway-based Nina Kemppel can rediscover the stamina she
had two years ago, she will finish in the top 30.

30K FREESTYLE
February 20
Stefania Belmondo, Italy
Elena Vaelbe, Russia
Katerina Neumannova, Czech Republic
U.S. Freestyle is the strength of Laura Wilson, Petty's former
teammate at Vermont.

4 x 5K RELAY--MIXED STYLE
February 16
Russia
Norway
Italy
U.S. The Americans should be no better than in 1994, but no
worse--10th place is likely again.

NORDIC COMBINED

INDIVIDUAL
February 13 and 14
Bjarte Engen Vik, Norway
Mario Stecher, Austria
Todd Lodwick, U.S.
U.S. Coloradan Lodwick is flying high after winning a World Cup
event in Schonach, Germany, last month. Tim Tetreault of
Vermont, who was third in a competition in Lahti, Finland, last
March, should also land in the top dozen.

TEAM
February 19 and 20
Finland
Austria
Norway
U.S. With 21-year-old Lodwick and 27-year-old Tetreault, the
Americans should come in no worse than fifth--their best Olympic
finish ever.

SKI JUMPING

90-METER HILL
February 11
Dieter Thoma, Germany
Masahiko Harada, Japan
Janne Ahonen, Finland
U.S. Four-time national champ Randy Weber, 20, the most stylish
American jumper, should sail into the top 30.

120-METER HILL
February 15
Masahiko Harada, Japan
Kazuyoshi Funaki, Japan
Noriaki Kasai, Japan
U.S. A third-generation jumper, 23-year-old Casey Colby from
Lake Placid is America's best--but the world's 40th.

120-METER HILL, TEAM
February 17
Japan
Finland
Austria
U.S. With luck, and a hearty tailwind, the young American team
(average age: 19.4) could leap to 15th.

Speed Skating

Those noises coming from the M-Wave arena will be clapskates
clapping and records breaking. Since the U.S. is without
retirees Bonnie Blair and Dan Jansen, Dutch men and German women
will be the ones making the racket. In short track, Korea will
cause most of the commotion.

MEN

500 METERS
February 9 and 10
Hiroyasu Shimizu, Japan
Jeremy Wotherspoon, Canada
Manabu Horii, Japan
U.S. Casey FitzRandolph, winner of five '97 races, could crack
the top six.

1,000 METERS
February 15
Manabu Horii, Japan
Jan Bos, The Netherlands
Lee Kyu Hyuk, Korea
U.S. If he adjusts to his clapskates, former small-college
placekicker FitzRandolph could score a medal.

1,500 METERS
February 12
Rintje Ritsma, The Netherlands
Ids Postma, The Netherlands
Kevin Overland, Canada
U.S. A bronze is possible for former in-line skater KC
Boutiette, world-record holder for a day in '97.

5,000 METERS
February 8
Gianni Romme, The Netherlands
Keiji Shirahata, Japan
Frank Dittrich, Germany
U.S. Boutiette and nine-year veteran David Tamburrino should
both glide into the top 12.

10,000 METERS
February 17
Bob de Jong, The Netherlands
Gianni Romme, The Netherlands
Kjell Storelid, Norway
U.S. Tamburrino, who thrives in long races, should make the top
10.

WOMEN

500 METERS
February 13 and 14
Catriona LeMay Doan, Canada
Sabine Volker, Germany
Franziska Schenk, Germany
U.S. The 1,000 may be her best event, but Chris Witty is also
one of the world's top five at half that distance.

1,000 METERS
February 19
Chris Witty, U.S.
Franziska Schenk, Germany
Catriona LeMay Doan, Canada
U.S. The world-record holder, Witty will cruise. Marquette
student Becky Sundstrom could also push into the top five.

1,500 METERS
February 16
Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann, Germany
Emese Hunyady, Austria
Tonny de Jong, The Netherlands
U.S. The distance figures to tire Witty and Sundstrom: top six
for the former, top 10 for the latter.

3,000 METERS
February 11
Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann, Germany
Claudia Pechstein, Germany
Svetlana Bazhanova, Russia
U.S. The pupil (and daughter) of two-time Olympic medalist Diane
Holum, 17-year-old Kirstin Holum seems destined for the top 10.

5,000 METERS
February 20
Claudia Pechstein, Germany
Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann, Germany
Tonny de Jong, The Netherlands
U.S. Holum and former in-line skater Jennifer Rodriguez from
Miami would both do well to finish in the top 20.

MEN'S SHORT TRACK

500 METERS
February 21
Satoru Terao, Japan
Marc Gagnon, Canada
Lee Jun Hwan, Korea
U.S. Last shot for 33-year-old Andy Gabel; first shot for
18-year-old Rusty Smith.

1,000 METERS
February 17
Lee Jun Hwan, Korea
Kim Dong Sung, Korea
Fabio Carta, Italy
U.S. Gabel and Smith (who's named after Rusty Staub) could both
make the top 10.

5,000-METER RELAY
February 21
Korea
Canada
Japan
U.S. One of the world's best five teams isn't yet one of the
best three.

WOMEN'S SHORT TRACK

500 METERS
February 19
Chun Lee Kyung, Korea
Yang Yang, China
Wang Chunlu, China
U.S. Three-time Olympic medalist Amy Peterson and 19-year-old
Erin Porter look good for the top eight.

1,000 METERS
February 21
Chun Lee Kyung, Korea
Isabelle Charest, Canada
Kim Yoon Mi, Korea
U.S. Peterson, Porter and Erin Gleason--the American-record
holder at 1,500--are top 10 material.

3,000-METER RELAY
February 17
Korea
China
Canada
U.S. The team includes two-time Olympic champ Cathy Turner, but
at 35 her medal days are over.

COLOR PHOTO: AFL FOTO AGENCY [Bronze, gold and silver medals for XVIII Olympic Winter Games]

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