Tara Lipinski's mother, Pat, and U.S. Figure Skating Association VP James Disbrow "protested that Tara had been snubbed" yesterday after Michelle Kwan was selected by the USOC to present an Olympic team jacket to President Clinton during an Olympic ceremony at the White House, according to Amy Shipley of the WASHINGTON POST. Disbrow: "I certainly think the gold medalist is the one recognized as the Olympic champion. Certainly, I think our association, the USFA, would know the protocol of any ceremony." Pat Lipinski: "My federation is in total shock. ... Tara is the epitome of the Olympics. She is the one who was there." Kwan was the only athlete given the opportunity to speak at the event. Kwan was a late replacement for Picabo Street who could not travel due to a knee injury. USOC Dir of PR Mike Moran said that there was "no intent to shun anyone," adding only that with the promotion of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City a priority, the USOC "preferred to honor an athlete intending on competing in those Games." Tara Lipinski: "I had a great day. I met the president. It was wonderful" (WASHINGTON POST, 4/30). Pat Lipinski: "Don't you think it's a terrible thing for them to do to poor Tara? It's been like this for poor Tara. It's a terrible thing" (AP/ESPN SportsZone, 4/30).
In UT, Lisa Riley Roche reported that "under pressure" to find a sports director for the 2002 Winter Games "fast," SLOC leaders have ruled out "leading candidate" Steve Hatchell. Hatchell is "on his way out" as Big 12 Conference Commissioner "amid allegations of workplace harassment" (DESERET NEWS, 4/29). In Salt Lake, Mike Gorrell reports that IOC officials encouraged SLOC organizers to "step up hiring people" to run the overall and individual sports programs at the 2002 Games (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 4/30).