SPORT ON THE INTERNET; The icing on skating's cake

With the start of the Winter Olympics in Nagano only a week away, I thought it was a good time to have a look at another Olympic event, ice skating.

The best place to start is the official site of the International Skating Union. It is rather a dry site with a list of events and results for the various different disciplines, figure, speed, short track and precision skating.

It also provides the world rankings for the speed skating events and gives you probable medal-winning skaters - look out for Canada's Jeremy Woth-erspoon in the speed skating sprints and Catriona LeMay-Doan, another Canadian, in the women's.

In the short track, Koreans dominate the men's events and Koreans and Chinese the women's. Precision skating is ice skating's equivalent of synchronised swimming. This sport is the Come Dancing of skating though it is not yet an Olympic event. This weekend synchronised skaters of the world are competing for the Dan Cup in Denmark, in which last year the Solihull Stars finished fourth in the junior section. I found out this and more on precision skating from Susie's Precision Skating page.

The founder of the sport, Dr Richard Porter, died last month. He put together the first group of precision skates 40 years ago in Ann Arbor, Michigan. And as they gave demonstrations during intervals of ice hockey games, they were named The Hockettes. SkateWeb provides a general links site to skating pages and this took me on to the US TV networks. CBS Sportsline have a good skating page as part of their Olympic coverage.

The US have the two teenage favourites for the gold in the women's figure skating, Tara Lipinski and Michelle Kwan. There is a piece on how Michelle Kwan's trainer chooses her music and this year rather surprisingly she is using a piece, Lyra Angelica, by English classical and film composer, William Alwyn.

You can also vote on the prospects of Canadian Elvis Stojko - will he be Canada's first winner of a men's single gold medal.

Edward Abelson

ADDRESSES

International Skating Union Official site

http://www.isu.org/

1998 Winter Olympics Official site

http://www.nagano.olympic.org/

2002 Winter Olympic Official site

http://www.SLC2002.org/

SkateWeb

http://frog.simplenet.com/skateweb/

Susie's Precision Skating Page

http://users.ox.ac.uk/shil0249/precision.html

CBS Sportsline Figure Skating page

http://cbs.sportsline.com/u/olympics/nagano98/figuresk8/index.html

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