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White House hosts Baiul; Kerrigan, Harding to visit

Ukraine's pride, Olympic gold medal figure skater Oksana Baiul, captivated President Clinton and nearly outshone her country's president in a White House visit on Friday.

"She has this ageless look in her face," Clinton said of Baiul, a 16-year-old orphan. "I think it's kind of neat that he asked her to come."

Baiul, who beat American skater Nancy Kerrigan out of the gold medal last week in Lillehammer, Norway, was part of a Ukrainian delegation led by President Leonid Kravchuk. They were joined by 1992 Olympic skating champion Viktor Petrenko.

The three posed for pictures with Clinton. Baiul still wore a bandage on her shin. It covered the stitches she needed after an accident during warm-ups at the Olympics.

Clinton said he doesn't think Americans bear a grudge over Kerrigan's losing the gold to Baiul. Kerrigan won the silver.

He said he has invited the entire U.S. Olympic team to visit the White House on April 13, including Kerrigan and Tonya Harding.

Clinton said he had sat "riveted" as he watched the American and Ukrainian skaters on TV during the Olympics.

"It was a remarkable thing; just astonishing," he said.

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