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Last Updated: Monday, 20 February 2006, 16:19 GMT
Ask Anna
BBC Sport journalist Anna Thompson
Hi, I'm Anna Thompson and I will be reporting from the Winter Olympics for the BBC Sport website.

I'll be following the big stories at the Games and especially the British hopefuls in their various events.

But I also want to be your 'eyes and ears' in Italy.

I will do my best to find answers to any questions you have, or even go and report on something particular if many of you want me to.

So if there is a particular athlete you would like to know more about, an event, news story or issue you think I should follow up, or you have a question about the host venues, then do let me know.

Thanks - and enjoy the Games,


Q: Can you please tell me, is there any more snowboarding being raced, if so when?
Bev, Godstone, Surrey, England

A. The parallel giant slalom has yet to take place and this is where two racers go head-to-head on two courses side-by-side with the fastest progressing to the next round until there is a winner.

There is a qualification round against the clock and then the top 16 will race in pairs. The men's event is on Wednesday and the women's on Thursday but unfortunately there are no British participants.

Q: Has any athlete ever won medals at both the summer and winter Games?
Mark Donkin, Warwickshire

A. American Eddie Eagen is the only athlete to win a gold medal at both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

He won the light-heavyweight boxing at the 1920 Antwerp Summer Olympics and at Lake Placid in 1932 he was part of the four-man bob team who took gold.

Q: When did short track become part of the Winter Olympics?
Mckenna Williams, Texas

A. Short track speed skating was introduced for the first time at the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville in France.

Q: Why is powder snow bad for the women's and men's downhill skiing?
Jess, Suffolk

A. Racers need hard pistes to generate as much speed as possible. Powder snow would slow them down too much and in downhill skiing every 10th of a second counts.

Q: Please can you tell me why the silver medal has got a hole in the middle of it in this year's Olympics?
Edward Barry, St Ives, Cornwall

A Turin 2006 gold medal
There are 1,674 medals on offer at the 2006 Winter Olympics
A. I've had a number of emails about the medals so here are the facts. They have been designed by Italian Dario Quatrini and are 120mm in diameter and 20mm thick and all have holes in the middle.

Quatrini says the holes represent either the open space of an Italian piazza or the beating of an athlete's heart.

The gold medal is made of silver but coated with at least six grams of gold and all say Torino 2006 on them. A total of 1,674 competition medals have been made and 35,000 commemorative medals.

Q: Is it true the runners for all the bobsleighs (all teams) have to be legally sourced from the same approved place and also that it is illegal to treat them... unlike skis?
John Dighton, Bury, Lancs

A. At the moment they are allowed two sets of runners which are stamped and they cannot change them. In the future all teams will receive the same steel from the bobsleigh's governing body the FIBT.

Q: In the two-man bobsleigh why don't the brakemen have visors on their helmets like the drivers do.

They all seem to be having problems with snow hitting them in the face at the end of their runs, why not just wear a visor like the driver? Is there a reason for this?
Mark Hyde, Oldham

A. Brakemen do not like wearing visors because they get claustrophobic with their heads down after the push-start.

There is no need for them and in Cesana it was extreme snowy conditions and they would have preferred a couple of uncomfortable seconds at the end rather than having a visor.

Q: What do the two middle athletes in the four-man bob do? I assume the front man steers and the back man brakes but what do the middle men do?

How do they get chosen if they just have to sit there! Great viewing all the same.
June, Dorking, Surrey

A. Colin Bryce, the BBC's bobsleigh expert and former Olympic two-man bobsleigher, tells me the middle men are pushers and are selected for their speed and strength.

Once they are in the sled they need to keep their heads down and try not to move.


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