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Duchesnays attribute flat routine to pressure to tone down act


Paul and Isabelle Duchesnay, who settled for the silver in Monday night's ice dancing competition, said that after the sport's officials told them to tone things down, it would have been suicide not to acquiesce.

"Several high-ranking people told us their impressions influenced our choice of music and movements, and we were influenced by these people and held back very much," Isabelle Duchesnay said yesterday.

Gold medalists Sergei Ponomarenko and Marina Klimova let it all hang out with a sensual, risque routine that ended with an embrace and a passionate kiss, while the Duchesnays' "West Side Story" routine seemed to lack the complicated moves for which they have become noted.

"These people were pretty powerful and they said if we wanted to have any hope at the Olympics we had to change our programs," Paul Duchesnay said.

L "The program last night was not 100 percent the Duchesnays."

Dressed for success

When U.S. figure skater Nancy Kerrigan takes to the ice tonight, the most memorable part of her program might not be her jumps, but her Madison Avenue, beaded, poison-green, haute couture, four-figure costume.

But it will cover everything, and that will be a change from the G-strings and decolletage of Calgary. Thank the "Katarina rule."

Katarina Witt, the two-time gold medalist from East Germany, might be best remembered for provocative outfits with plunging necklines and high cut hips that drew criticism.

"We're here to skate in a dress, not in a G-string," Canadian coach Peter Dunfield said angrily.

The line was drawn. New Olympic rules now mark down skaters who show belly buttons or too much bosom and derriere. Excessive decorations are also out.

Real winners

Speed skater Bonnie Blair and figure skater Paul Wylie were honored as winners of Clairol Personal Best Awards, Blair for her work with the Special Olympics, Wylie for his efforts on behalf of the Dana Farber Cancer Research Center at Boston's Children's Hospital.

Wylie, the men's figure skating silver medalist, said he drew on the memory of a child and a promise he couldn't keep for inspiration.

Wylie works with children suffering from cancer and leukemia, and one of them died before having the skating lesson he promised her.

"I keep her picture up to remind me there are always people out there waiting . . . that there always are people to help," he said. "We are not here for ourselves.

Lebanese skier Raymond Kayrouz recorded an Olympic first tTC of sorts yesterday when he passed Morocco's El Hassan Mahta in the men's giant slalom.

Racers in the first slalom leg started at 40-second intervals, usually more than enough time to ensure that no skier overtakes anyone on the slopes.

To the great amusement of the crowd, however, Kayrouz passed Mahta as the Moroccan edged his way down the 3,723-foot course.

Kayrouz's feat did him little good. He and Mahta were both disqualified for missing a gate.

Wake up, little Suzie

Austria's Markus Prock's request to have his luge, called "Suzie," in his room when he slept was denied by Olympic officials.

The quote

"It's not very nice to stand at the bottom and wish the others racers don't go as fast as you." -- Super-G runner-up Carole Merle, the fourth skier out.

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