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Winter Olympics Roundup

February 12, 1998

NAGANO, Japan (AP) _ A star is Bjorn. And a gold medal is returned.

Norway’s Bjorn Dahlie, the hometown hero of the Lillehammer Games, became the first man to win six career Winter Olympic gold medals with his victory in the men’s 10-kilometer cross-county ski race.

Canada’s Ross Rebagliati had lost his one and only gold medal after testing positive for marijuana. But an appeals panel reversed the International Olympic Committee on Thursday and returned the snowboarder’s medal.

A day earlier, Rebagliati was stripped of the medal _ the first Olympian to lose his medal over a marijuana test, officials said. Rebagliati had said his positive test was the result of second-hand marijuana smoke.

Dahlie’s record-breaking Nagano gold now joins the three that he won in 1992 and the pair he collected in 1994. The five medals had tied Dahlie with two speedskaters: Eric Heiden of the United States and A. Clas Thunberg of Finland.

Dahlie, in a steady rain, led from wire to wire on the Snow Harp course. The victory followed Dahlie’s stunning 20th-place finish in the 30K event, when the Norwegian used the wrong wax on his skis.

The United States added a pair of medals to its Nagano cache, collecting bronze medals in the men’s and women’s snowboard halfpipe competition. Shannon Dunn and Ross Powers survived a heavy downpour to lift the U.S. medal total to four _ two golds, two bronze _ as most of the attention around the new Olympic sport focused on Rebagliati.

``It’s pouring, but I feel like I’m above the clouds,″ Dunn said. ``I just had the time of my life here.″

Nagano’s first double gold medalist came from Snow Harp, too _ Russian cross-country skier Larissa Lazutina, who captured the 10-kilometer freestyle Thursday (Wednesday night EDT). Lazutina, 32, had already won a gold in the 5K and a silver in the 15K.

While Dahlie stormed to his record-setting medal, a wintry mixture of snow and rain _ augmented by whipping winds and heavy fog _ postponed the weather-cursed men’s downhill yet again.

The race, one of the games’ premier events, was originally set for Sunday, rescheduled for Wednesday, then finally moved to Thursday (Wednesday night EST) as snow plagued the Alpine events. Both the downhill and the downhill portion of the men’s combined were finally rescheduled for Friday.

In the first five days of the Alpine schedule at the Olympics, only one gold medal has been awarded _ Picabo Street’s narrow victory in the women’s super-G on a sunny Wednesday.

_ SNOWBOARDING: With most of the attention focused on the Rebagliati situation, Dunn and Powers took bronze medals in the halfpipe competition. Dunn, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., was leading until she nearly wiped out during a driving rainstorm on her last run.

Nicola Thost of Germany took the gold medal and Stine Brun Kjeldaas of Norway won the silver.

Powers, 18, of Londonderry, Vt., finished behind gold medalist Gian Simmen of Switzerland and silver winner Daniel Franck of Norway.

_ DRUGS: Rebagliati appeared at a police station Thursday to answer questions about his positive test for marijuana, although he was unlikely to face any local sanctions. But a short time later, the Committee for the Arbitration of Sport restored the snowboarder’s medal.

The Canadian _ the first Olympian stripped of a gold medal since countryman Ben Johnson in 1988 _ says he never inhaled, at least not first-hand. Olympic officials yanked Rebagliati’s medal after the marijuana positive _ not the performance-enhancing drug ordinarily associated with drug violations in sports.

Rebagliati said he hadn’t used marijuana since April 1997, and blamed his positive test on second-hand smoke from a party one week before the Olympics.

Rebagliati didn’t break anything, unlike an Austrian snowboarder who was booted from the games after a party that caused $4,000 at a local hotel.

``We had a party, we had fun, something got broken,″ snowboarder Martin Freinademetz told reporters Thursday. ``It’s not cool, but it happened.″

_ SPEEDSKATING: There was no Dutch sweep at the M-Wave arena, where Adne Sondral of Norway won the 1,500-meter speedskating gold medal in a world-record time of 1 minute, 47.87 seconds. Ids Postma of the Netherlands was second, while his teammate Rintje Ritsma won the bronze. Sondral broke Ritsma’s record to duplicate the Lillehammer victory of his Norwegian countryman, Johann Olav Koss.

_ CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING: Lazutina wasn’t the only multiple medalist after the women’s race; teammate Olga Danilova added a silver to her gold in the 15k classical style. Katerina Neumannova of the Czech Republic took the bronze.

Dahlie was followed to the finish line by Markus Gandler of Austria, whole Mika Myllylae of Finland was third. Phillip Boit, the first Kenyan to compete in the Winter Games, finished dead last _ 20 minutes after Dahlie, who greeted the African with a hug at the finish line.

_ HOCKEY: NHL star Paul Kariya won’t play in the Olympics, dealing a blow to the Canadian Olympic team and keeping the top goal-scorer from returning to his father’s native land. The Anaheim Mighty Ducks star, sidelined by a concussion suffered Feb. 1 in a game with Chicago, was replaced on the roster by Mark Recchi of the Montreal Canadiens.

The American women’s team, behind Katie King’s hat trick, whipped Japan 10-0 Thursday to advance into the medals round with Canada, Finland and China. The U.S. team went 4-0 in the first round.

_ CURLING: The sport’s inaugural Olympics has not been very, very good to the Americans. A Thursday loss to Norway ensured that the American women would not leave Nagano with a medal. And the men’s team, despite an 8-5 victory over Germany, needs two wins and some help from other teams to earn a medal shot in the semifinal round.

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