VAL D’ISERE, France (AP) _ Break out the champagne 3/8 Val d’Isere is now Alberto-ville.
Alberto Tomba has arrived in town to begin defense of the two Alpine titles he won in Calgary four years ago.
The 25-year-old Italian skier was flown by helicopter Sunday to Val D’Isere from the nearby Italian resort of Sestriere, where he had been training.
″I am relaxed, fit and confident. I am ready to win, but the Olympics are very special events, in which upsets are frequent,″ La Bomba said.
Italy’s No. 1 skier will start in Tuesday’s giant slalom here and in Saturday’s slalom at Les Menuires.
On Monday, he will inspect the giant slalom course. It’s his first time on the slope.
Tomba shoots in the Albertville Games for a back-to-back Olympic triumph, unprecedented in men’s Alpine races.
PRINCE ALBERT IN THE CAN:. Monaco’s prince was a pauper at the Olympics.
Prince Albert, teamed with Pascal Camia in the two-man bobsled, finished 43rd of 46 sleds Sunday. The Monaco II team beat both entrants from the Virgin Islands and one from Puerto Rico.
The prince’s time for four runs - two Saturday and two Sunday - was 4 minutes, 14.42 seconds. The first place Swiss team of Gustav Weder and Donat Acklin finished in 4:03.26.
OLYMPIC NEWS:. CNN will soon begin broadcasting an Olympic news show.
IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch said he reached agreement on the project Saturday night with officials of the Atlanta-based 24-hour news network.
Samaranch said the program was scheduled to begin in March. It will be about five minutes long and run every week or every other week.
The deal marks a warming of relations between the IOC and CNN’s Ted Turner, formerly at odds over Turner’s Goodwill Games. Turner is interested in having a role in the broadcasting of the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.
JAPANESE PROUD:. Japan is embracing its speedskating heros.
Newspaper front pages Sunday were dominated by photos of Toshiyuki Kuroiwa and Junichi Inoue, the silver and bronze medalists in the men’s 500 meters at Albertville. Germany’s Uwe-Jens Mey won Saturday’s race.
And Seiko Hashimoto, who won a bronze earlier in the week in the women’s 1,500 meters, will return to find her name emblazoned on her home speedskating rink at the Fujikyu Highland resort. The rink, near Mt. Fuji, west of Tokyo, has been renamed ″Seiko Oval.″
Hashimoto, 27, skating in her third and last Winter Olympics, has been a favorite in Japan for her fighting spirit, although she previously had won no Olympic medals.
OLYMPIC NEWCOMERS:. The head of the International Ski Federation’s freestyle section said Sunday that two remaining events in the discipline, ballets and aerials, should have full Olympic medal status as moguls does.
″There surely can no longer be any obstacle to full recognition at Lillehammer in 1994,″ Hanno Treindl said. ″We have done everything that was asked of us: the highest level of competition, safety for all our competitors and events that spectators and television audience enjoy enormously.″
He dismissed criticism that neither ballet nor aerials are objectively measurable as moguls are.
TOP MEN HAPPY WITH GAMES:. Two Olympic chiefs are pleased with the Winter Games so far.
″So far, so good,″ was how IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch summed up the first half of the Albertville Winter Games.
″Things are going quite well,″ he said. ″If the weather holds up, I think we will be able to say at the end that these were not easy Games but successful Games.″
Meanwhile, Jean-Claude Killy, co-president of the French organizing committee, said after one week that athletically, the Winter Olympics have been excellent.
He also said the organizing committee had been fortunate in not having to postpone any events, despite some problems with the weather.