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    Tuesday, February 17, 1998

    Dutch treat for Overland

    By STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun
      The only Canadian smiling at the end of the women's 1,500-metre speed-skating race was a man.
     Kevin Overland, the 500-metre bronze medallist from Kitchener, watched from the coaching area as his girlfriend, Marianne Timmer of the Netherlands, not only won the gold medal, but shattered Catriona Le May Doan's world record in the process.
      "I've got a medal. She's got a gold medal. This makes my Olympics unforgettable," Overland said. "This makes up for my bad race in the 1,000.
     "There's going to be a be a celebration like you've never seen before, right after Marianne skates in the 1,000."
     But Overland wasn't excited about everything. While absolutely thrilled for his girlfriend of 15 months, he almost cried for his sister Cindy, who had to miss her signature Olympic event because of severe flu and tonsillitis.
     "She can't get out of bed," Overland said. "There's a lot of athletes here seriously sick. I really feel for her.
     "She's a strong girl and she's very upset about this. I know this much, if she could have been here, she would have been here. That's how bad this is."
     The race, for the Canadians who did take part, was hardly memorable.
     Le May Doan, considered a longshot even though she held the 1,500 record, skated her first 700 metres faster than Timmer, but fell way back on her final two laps and wound up 13th, in 2:02.19. That was a whopping 4.61 seconds behind Timmer.
     Ingrid Liepa of Ottawa and Isabelle Doucet of Quebec also were way back in the 1,500.
     "This was a tough one," Le May Doan said. "With two laps to go, it felt like there was just one lap to go. It's like my body went 'Oh my!'
     "It wasn't my day."
     Le May Doan had been scheduled to have a tough workout between her specialty races -- the 500 and the 1,000 -- but decided long before the Games to race the 1,500 rather than work out.
     "I'm glad I had the race," she said. "I didn't want to have four days between races. This keeps me fresh, even if it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to."