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After bearing up to win gold, Jansen will go out waving LILLEHAMMER BEAT


Dan Jansen will close out his often-heartbreaking, but finally golden Olympic career carrying the American flag in tomorrow's closing ceremonies.

Jansen, who set a world record in the 1,000-meter speed skating race after seven Olympic failures, was chosen yesterday by his teammates as flag bearer.

Luge racer Cammy Myler of Lake Placid, N.Y., carried the flag in front of the U.S. team in the opening ceremony Feb. 12.

"It's an honor because it seems very appropriate to end my Olympic career with something like this," Jansen said. "It's a different honor than winning a medal because it's something that's been voted on by my teammates."

The team captains in each sport made the selection. Jansen was picked from a group that included speed skater Bonnie Blair, winner of two golds; short-track speed skater Cathy Turner, winner of a gold and bronze; and skier Liz McIntyre, who captured the silver in women's moguls.

Tomba's Excedrin headache

Alberto Tomba does things in a big way. That goes for his headaches, too.

Tomba said yesterday he had been bothered by a headache since a disappointing performance in Thursday's Olympic giant slalom, which he won in each of the last two Winter Games.

It wasn't just the skiing or missing a gate in the second run of the race, won by Markus Wasmeier, "La Bomba" explained. He also was bothered by rumors that he may part with longtime coach Gustavo Thoeni.

"I had a bad headache Thursday, possibly the result of the stress from the giant slalom defeat and from the pressure I'm feeling," Tomba said.

Tomba said his relationship remained good with Thoeni, a former ski great. Thoeni joked that, in light of Tomba's GS flop, he expected to be fired "as they usually do for soccer coaches after a defeat."

Norway's 'Dream' team

Alpine skiers Lasse Kjus and Kjetil Andre Aamodt, who finished in the top two of their fourth consecutive combined yesterday, are known in Norway as the Dream Team.

That's Dreamy, actually. They seem to forget things: skis, poles, boots. They left their accreditation at home yesterday and had to go back to get it, or they couldn't have skied.

Harald Christian Strand Nilsen, who completed Norway's sweep in the combined, was not as forgetful.

"He's not a member of the Dream Team," Aamodt said, "so he had his accreditation."

See you again in 2010?

Lillehammer officials are so happy with their Olympics that they're already thinking about the next time: in 2010.

"That would be the best post-Games use of the facilities," Mayor Audun Tron said.

He said he didn't think Lillehammer would have any trouble raising money to campaign for the Games. "Last time we spent $20 million," Tron told the Oslo newspaper Verdens Gang. "Next time we won't need to spend as much to make ourselves known."

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