* CABLE CAPER: Saboteurs tried to black out television coverage of the Winter Olympics opening ceremony by cutting a transmission cable, the French state telecommunications company said today.

France Telecom said the fiber optics cable was cut Saturday between Albertville and the city of Chambery.

Coverage of the ceremony, broadcast live around the world, was only slightly affected because emergency back-up facilities took over immediately, France Telecom said in a statement. The cable was later repaired.

Police confirmed the sabotage attempt but declined to give details.

The Telecom statement said the underground cable had been cut about 10 miles from Albertville during the athletes' parade at the opening ceremony. The saboteurs reached the cable through a manhole cover, it said.

* EMERGENCY SURGERY: German ski jumper Marc Noelke, who was injured in a training crash at the Winter Olympics last week, had part of his spleen removed in emergency surgery, German team doctor Joseph Keul said today.

Keul said surgeons at Albertville Hospital operated overnight after Noelke, 18, began to bleed and his blood pressure dropped.

The athlete was comfortable and his life was never in danger, Keul said.

Noelke ruptured his spleen when he fell Thursday during training for Sunday's normal hill (90-meter) ski jump.

* IN THE DARK: The Olympic flame has been snuffed out early at Les Arc, the Olympic venue where the speed skiing competition starts next Tuesday. It was turned off as a precaution because high winds blew the flame back down into the torch, the site's director, Henri Blanc, said.

The flame had slightly damaged an electrical cable inside.

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