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IOC seeks Ukraine's involvement

Olympic officials are offering concessions on flags and anthems to convince Ukraine _ and pole vaulter Sergei Bubka _ to join a unified team of former Soviet republics at the Summer Games in Barcelona.

IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch said Sunday he has received commitments from most former republics to field a united team in Barcelona, with Kazakhstan, Moldava, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan the latest to sign on.

Samaranch reiterated that the protocol arrangements will be different from those in use at the Winter Games, where the Unified Team is represented by the Olympic flag and anthem.

In Barcelona, the flags and anthems of separate republics will be used when unified team athletes win individual events. The Olympic flag and anthem will be used for team sports.

Samaranch went out of his way to single out how Ukraine would benefit. "If Sergei Bubka, for example, is a winner, the Ukrainian national anthem will be played and the Ukrainian flag will be raised," he said. "This is quite important. This is the last step to full independence."

Bubka won the pole vault at the 1988 Games in Seoul and is the reigning world champion and world-record holder.

After 1992, the republics will be free to compete on their own if they agree to remain part of a unified team for the rest of this year.

Canadian, Swiss win aerials

TIGNES, France _ Canadian and Swiss skiers won the aerials event in the freestyle skiing demonstration. Philippe LaRoche of Canada came from behind to best his teammate Nicholas Fontaine, the first-round leader, with 237.47 points in the finals. Fontaine had 228.88 points. In the women's event, Colette Brand of Switzerland won, beating Marie Lindgren of Sweden, who led after Saturday's eliminations.


Four-man bobsled star Harald Czudaj said Sunday that East Germany's Stasi secret police blackmailed him to spy on his teammates after he was stopped for drunken driving. "I was stopped by the police in 1988 and was later told I would have to end my sports career or work for the Stasi," Czudaj said. " I didn't want my career to end for such a stupid thing. I never provided any information that harmed anyone. I am sorry for what I did." . . . Break out the champagne! Val d'Isere is now Alberto-ville. Alberto Tomba arrived in town Sunday to begin defense of the slalom and giant slalom titles he won in Calgary four years ago. The 25-year-old Italian skier was flown by helicopter to Val D'Isere from the nearby Italian resort of Sestriere, where he had been training. . . . Canadian Kerrin Lee-Gartner, winner of the women's downhill Saturday, received a congratulatory message from Prime Minister Brian Mulroney after her victory. "It was a very nice fax," Lee-Gartner said. "It just congratulated me for touching the pinnacle of my sport."