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).