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Why Poland isn't considered a threat

The opponent for the United States hockey team today, Poland, has a less than glorious tradition in Olympic hockey to go with an 0-3 record in this year's Games.

How bad is it? Consider this: The highest finish by Poland in an Olympics is fourth in 1932, a year when only four teams entered. The Poles have finished no higher than sixth since. Since 1972, Poland is 4-20. In three games here, the Poles have had 27 minutes worth of power plays without scoring.

Blair's next event is rooting for Jansen

Bonnie Blair has almost everything she wanted in the Winter Olympics, with gold medals in the 500- and 1,000-meter women's speed-skating races. She says the rest is up to her buddy Dan Jansen, who skates today in the men's 500 meters.

"Actually, I don't think I'm going to be relieved until that race is over with," Blair said.

Jansen fell in both races he skated in the last Winter Olympics in Calgary. Blair said she expects a battle today between Jansen and Uwe-Jens Mey, the German champion Jansen has traded world records with this year.

Tidbits

U.S. bobsled rookie Herschel Walker and his driver Brian Shimer had to make last-minute modifications on their sled body and runners Friday because the race jury found rule violations. Shimer admitted he was "thrown for a loop" by the ruling, but he and Walker still finished third in the final training run. U.S. skier Kristin Krone will miss today's downhill because of a broken knuckle and sprained knees suffered in a dramatic accident earlier this week. Krone said she felt fine immediately after the accident, but has since felt progressively worse. World champion Stefan Eberharter injured his left knee in practice Friday and will miss Sunday's super-giant slalom. France's sports ministry will pay the host nation's athletes $46,000 for a gold medal, $22,000 for silver and $15,000 for bronze, it was announced. Germany is offering money for top-eight finishes, but only $9,500 for a gold medal. A biathlete from the Unified Team remained hospitalized in improved condition Friday, but Olympic officials wouldn't comment on a report by France's national sports newspaper L'Equipe that his illness stemmed from an illegal pre-compeitition blood transfusion designed to enhance performance. Sergei Tarasov, a silver medalist at the 1991 world championships, was hospitalized Saturday with a "very severe infectious syndrome," according to Patrick Schamasch, chief medical officer for the Winter Games. Start times for today's men's 15-kilometer cross-country ski race are supposed to be determined by times from Thursday's 10-kilometer race under a new "pursuit" system. But officials have decided to give Morocco's Faissal Cherradi a break and let him start 20 minutes behind 10K winner Vegard Ulvang of Norway, rather than making him start 43 minutes behind _ after the leaders will have finished.

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