Notebook: Company scurries for the gold

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah company that handcrafted Olympic medals for the games had to scramble to produce a medal for the Canadian figure skaters.

O.C. Tanner had made duplicate medals for dual winners in timed Olympic sports, "but there's typically no ties in pairs figure skating," a company spokesman said. "Nobody anticipated this."

The company got a call yesterday from Olympic organizers to produce gold medals for Canadians David Pelletier and Jamie Sale, who will share top honors with Russian skaters in the compromise that settled a judging scandal.

Each medal, distinct to its sport, requires 20 hours of handcrafting. O.C. Tanner had extra medal blanks for figure skating, saving it more than 12 hours of labor. The company called in a skilled milling operator from his vacation to produce the medals.

Mitt Romney, the chief Games organizer, picked them up in an armored truck last night and put them in a safe until the International Skating Union awards them.

O.C. Tanner actually needed only one gold medal. It already had another one for figure skating on display in its lobby. The gold medals have a silver core covered by 6 grams of 24-carat gold.

Goalie gets his vintage gold

Russian goalie Nikolai Khabibulin is assured of leaving the Salt Lake City Olympics with a gold medal. Unless it's stolen again.

In a private dressing-room ceremony with his teammates and the Russian Hockey Federation on Thursday, Khabibulin was awarded the gold medal that former coach Viktor Tikhonov took from him in 1992.

Khabibulin, the foundation of the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning, is Russia's No. 1 goalie. But in 1992, he was third on the depth chart and never played when the Unified team won gold in Albertville, France. Instead of giving the gold to someone who didn't play, Tikhonov kept it. Only players are given Olympic medals. Coaches and management do not.

Canadian skier hurt training

A member of the Canadian Alpine skiing team was in satisfactory condition yesterday after being injured in a training accident and airlifted to a hospital in Salt Lake City. David Anderson, 22, from Rossland, British Columbia, has soft-tissue injuries and a possible concussion, said a spokesman for LDS Hospital. "He was warming up for the Super G on the race hill and he hit a cable from a grooming machine," said Joze Sparovec, leader of the Canadian Alpine team.

We're watching

NBC's seven-day nightly average for the 2002 Winter Olympics stands at a 19.2 national household rating/31 share, a 14 percent increase over CBS' Nagano seven-day average of 16.8/27, according to Nielsen Media Research. Thursday night's Olympic telecast delivered a 17.6/29 on NBC, as compared to Nagano's Day 7 of a 19.3/30.

The 19.2 average rating for the Salt Lake Olympics make it the second-highest rated prime-time delivery at this stage for a Winter Olympics since a 23.7/36 generated in Lake Placid in 1980. .

Seventy-seven percent of all U.S. television households have tuned in to the Olympics to date.

For the first week of the Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City led all local metered markets with an average of 41.1/62, followed by Portland (27.9/44), and then Seattle (26.4/42).