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Steinbrenner defends self

George Steinbrenner says he doesn't hate Howard Peterson; he pities him.

Steinbrenner, a U.S. Olympic Committee vice president, was the target of a verbal attack Sunday by Peterson, president of U.S. Skiing.

"He should take a real long, hard look at himself," Steinbrenner said Monday from his home in Tampa. "It is sad, really sad."

Peterson said Steinbrenner "doesn't belong" in the U.S. Olympic movement, hasn't accomplished anything of significance and shouldn't have been marching in the Olympic opening ceremonies. He called Steinbrenner's position of prominence "a slap in the face of every athlete."

Steinbrenner read the remarks and responded by saying he "felt very sorry for poor Howard Peterson," who has been feuding publicly with the USOC since September.

Peterson also criticized the USOC Sunday for lack of leadership and support.

"He has shown a complete lack of loyalty for the other members of the United States Olympic movement," Steinbrenner said. "I think he is totally frustrated because he finds so little, if any, support throughout our Olympic movement and so little respect for himself among the other National Governing Bodies.

"As far as myself marching in the Olympic parade, I was thrilled to be a part of it. However, if the athletes and others (governing bodies) feel I don't belong there, I will step aside, but certainly not because of poor Howard's opinions. I have given them my best and I think they know that, and I will continue to do so as long as they want me."

USOC president William J. Hybl also responded to Peterson's "rhetoric," saying it was "detrimental" to U.S. efforts (in Albertville).

Weather wins

MERIBEL, France _ The weather was the only winner Monday in the women's super-giant slalom, with heavy overnight snow forcing a one-day delay, the first major postponement of these Olympics. Fifteen inches of snow fell Sunday night and Monday morning, landing on a course already softened by rain. Winds gusted to 78 mph.

Flu bug

ALBERTVILLE, France _ Flu symptoms knocked several speed skaters out of competition but appear to be isolated incidents rather than an epidemic, said the chief medical officer of the Games.

"We are not aware of any problem with the athletes at the moment," said Dr. Patrick Schamasch, a member of IOC Medical Commission. "We have not heard of the flu going around the village."

Uwe-Jens Mey, the two-time Olympic 500-meter gold medalist, was scratched from today's 1,000-meter race because of the flu. German team officials also pulled Olaf Zinke, who is believed to be ill.

Defending champion Yvonne von Gennip of the Netherlands withdrew from the women's 5,000-meter race Monday, also because of the flu. She was one of three skaters scratched. Ewa Wasilewska of Poland and Jaana Kivipelto of Finland also were sick.

Curling time

PRALOGNAN, France _ Canada and Norway got off to a good start in the demonstration event of curling, with strong wins by both their men's and women's teams. The Canadian men beat the United States 7-3, after the Canadian women coasted past Sweden 8-2. The Norwegian men's team brushed off Britain 6-1; the women's side edged the British 5-4. In other men's matches, France triumphed over Sweden 8-3, and Switzerland defeated Australia 7-3. In the women's event, Denmark beat France 9-5, and Germany downed Japan 9-7.

Miscellany

Speed skater Dan Jansen, who fell during the 1,000-meter race in the 1988 Games in Calgary, will shoot for an elusive Olympic medal today in the 1,000 meters. Jansen is fourth in the World Cup 1,000 rankings. Twenty-four hours after finishing seventh in the two-man bobsled, Herschel Walker was back on the track with three teammates, turning in the best start time of the day. Unfortunately, it was only practice. Driver Randy Will, pushers Joe Sawyer and Karlos Kirby and brakeman Walker dominated the first run. They had the fastest start time of 6.24 seconds en route to a run time of 1 minute, 21 seconds. In the second run, they posted a 6.25 over the first 50 meters to tie for sixth with the No. 1 German sled, driven by 1988 silver medalist Wolfgang Hoppe. Their run time was 1:00.47, seventh-fastest in the field of 38. Their combined time of 2:00.68 put them third. Colombia and Paraguay qualified Sunday night in Paraguay as South America's representatives for the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona, Spain. The United States is one of four nations remaining in the North and Central American and Caribbean region, of which two teams will advance to the 16-team tourney.

_ TIMES WIRES

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