Luge coach Fred Zimny received the USOC's award for developmental coach of the year. Zimny recruited Jean Racine into the sport nine years ago. Four years later, when Racine turned 17 and was burning out on luge, she says, Zimny told her "flat-out I didn't have what it took to go to the Olympics" in that sport. Racine and partner Jen Davidson are now the world's top-ranked pair in women's bobsled, an event that will make its Olympic debut in Salt Lake City.... The brake-man on Sweden's only world-class women's bobsled team is none other than Lyudmila Engquist, the 1996 Olympic champ in the 100-meter hurdles, who came back from breast cancer to win a world bronze in '99....Key IOC figure Dick Pound is Canadian, but he dealt a blow to Toronto's hopes to land the 2008 Summer Olympics when he cited Beijing as the clear front-runner and described Toronto and the other bidders—Paris, Osaka and Istanbul—as "fallbacks." The IOC will choose the 2008 host city
at a session in Moscow this July....IOC director general Francois Carrard reiterated last week that under no circumstances would the committee pull the 2004 Games from Athens when its executive board meets in Dakar, Feb. 5-7. Athens organizers have been plagued by delays in construction of sports venues and hotels, and several of the committee's top members have recently resigned or been fired.... With more than a year to go, fans have requested all but 23,300 of the 793,000 seats in the U.S. ticket allotment for the Salt Lake City Games.