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LIPINSKI DENIED GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY TO MEET THE PRESIDENT

          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).

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