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Features Thursday, 14 February, 2002, 20:41 GMT
On tour with Village people
The Winter Olympic Village has a beautiful setting nestling among the mountains of Utah
The Winter Olympic Village has a beautiful setting
British luge star Mark Hatton gives BBC Sport Online's Anna Thompson a guided tour around Salt Lake City's Olympic Village.

Need a haircut? Fancy a facial? Or is there a film you have been wanting to see for ages but have never got round to it?

That is no problem for Britain's Olympic athletes, who have been on the receiving end of some very generous hospitality.

Most of Team GB are based in the Olympic Village, where it seems the Salt Lake City Organising Committee has thought of everything.

Nothing can prepare you for the whole Olympic experience. It has blown me away

GB luge star Mark Hatton
There is a fitness centre, a clothes store, a video games centre, an internet room, a coffee house as well as a hair and beauty salon, a cinema and a nightclub.

All of which are free of charge to the athletes.

There are two religious centres, which offer daily Catholic, Protestant and Anglican services.

Booze ban

There is only one strict rule in the village - no alcohol is allowed.

British luger Mark Hatton, who broke the British record twice at the Olympics, said: "Nothing can prepare you for the whole Olympic experience. It has blown me away.

"The facilities in the village are excellent."

Team GB are housed in two floors of a three-storey building, the Croatians have the other floor.

GB luge star Mark Hatton
Hatton has enjoyed his stay enormously
The village is part of the University of Utah. All the students have had to move out of their residential halls for the duration of the Games to make way for the 2,500 athletes from 78 countries.

Each apartment has two, two-bed bedrooms, a lounge and a kitchen, which have been redecorated prior to the Olympics.

Hatton's room-mate will be skeleton bobsledder Kristan Bromley, when he arrives from the holding camp in Calgary in the next couple of days.

The second room is shared by two of the 10-strong men's bobsleigh team.

Celebrity square meals

All the countries eat together in a massive communal dining hall.

Hatton said: "It's great how everyone mingles and bumps into each other in the corridors.

"But the best is the dining hall. You meet loads of famous Olympians there."

The organisers have also been busy putting together an entertainments programme.

Rap star Coolio entertained the athletes and there has been a Mardi Gras ball as well - when a local drag queen was invited to help make the evening go with a swing!

And on Valentine's Day there is a heart-to-heart theme at the nightclub - not that Hatton was interested in this.

He was more concerned about making sure his girlfriend Annie Taylor received the flowers he had ordered for her.

Hatton added: "Before I competed I stayed well away from all the entertainment and the video games centre because I wanted to be totally focused on my event.

"But now I have competed, I can fully enjoy everything and I intend to!"

BBC Sport Online's Anna Thompson

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