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Monday, 18 February, 2002, 05:08 GMT

Aussie is last man standing

BBC Sport Online's Alex Gubbay rounds up the latest gossip in Salt Lake City.

  • Short track skater Steven Bradbury was all smiles a day after winning Australia's first ever gold medal at the Winter Olympics.

    Bradbury took the 1,000m title when the other four finalists wiped out on the last bend.

    "My strategy of hanging back and waiting for a collision went pretty much to plan," he said with tongue firmly in cheek afterwards.

    But not everyone at the Salt Lake Ice Center was pleased at the outcome.

    "Someone in the crowd told me I didn't deserve it," the Aussie revealed.

    Coyly keeping the details of his reaction to himself, he added: "Let's just say, I told him I did."

    Bradbury's story is made all the more remarkable by the way he has overcome two career-threatening injuries.

    Back in 1994, he impaled himself on another skater's blade, requiring 111 stitches in his leg and a four-litre blood transfusion as a result.

    And two years ago, he crashed head first into a barrier during a training run.

    The remedy that time? Six weeks in a neck brace.

    In this race, staying on his feet clearly paid dividends for Bradbury.

    But was he still standing after a few celebratory tinnies?

    "Unfortunately I was, mate," he admitted.

    "We didn't get to the Last Lap (the official Olympic party zone) until about 1.30, and then they booted us out around 3.

    "I guess we are in Utah after all."


  • Someone else who feels wronged by the Utahns' apparent lack of a party spirit is Canadian journalist Francois Gagnon.

    Gagnon left his hotel room 'tackle out' to retrieve a newspaper early one morning, only to hear the door close and lock behind him.

    Using the paper to cover himself, he asked staff to let him back in - but was instead sent packing and forced to move hotels.

    "I tried to make a joke of it by saying how lucky it was that the paper had been a broadsheet and not a tabloid," he said.

    "But they didn't laugh, not even when I told them I had nothing to hide."

    With the temperatures well below freezing at night, I'm sure they had guessed that already, Francois.


  • All sorts of stars descend on the Winter Olympics, but Robert Redford is a virtually ever-present personality here.

    He owns a ski resort nearby, the appropriately-named Sundance.

    Sources close to your man in Utah confirm Redford remains in fine fettle, whizzing round the slopes in a red bandana.

    Asking the great man for autographs is evidently allowed when he is out and about.

    But he is strictly off limits when settling down for lunch.

    Approaching him then would apparently be considered an indecent proposal.


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