Winter Olympics: Kerrigan's quiet time: Silent moment in the cold war as aggrieved skater returns to the ice before the arrival of her American rival

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The Independent Online
NANCY KERRIGAN escaped from the crush of media and spectator attention yesterday to put in some practice on an empty ice rink with only a handful of photographers, reporters and fans joining her coaches on the sidelines.

Things may not be as quiet after Tonya Harding, her fellow American rival, arrives to practise on the same rink on Thursday. Harding was cleared to compete only after the US Olympic Committee met to consider any possible link she may have had to an assault on Kerrigan in Detroit last month.

Both she and Harding, who gave a farewell exhibition in Portland, Oregon, yesterday, declined to use alternative facilities and the International Skating Union has refused to separate them in different practice groups.

Kerrigan looked back to the familiar relaxed, easy-going athlete she was before the attack. She fell a few times, but picked herself up and succeeded with each troublesome move on the second attempt.

It probably felt pretty warm on the ice, compared with the arctic conditions outside. Temperatures overnight have been dropping to -25C, and only barely edging above -18C during the day in much of the Olympic region. Biathletes found their rifles freezing to their cheeks, and it was very nearly too cold to allow the cross-country skiing to start.

Michael Dixon has paid the price for his devotion to flag-bearing duty at the opening ceremony, where he had to hold the Union Jack through the morning practice before the ceremony. The most successful British biathlete ever has been ordered by team doctors to rest for two days after picking up a cold and running a fever.

(Photographs omitted)