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To a Hometown Crowd, Nancy Is Already a Winner

NANCY KERRIGAN dazzled the hometown fans at Northeastern University in Boston Friday with an Olympic preview which proved to any doubters that she is in top form for the games in Lillehammer, Norway, which start Feb. 12.

Judging from the number of standing ovations Ms. Kerrigan received, it was obvious that the sold-out crowd of over 4,500 people loved her performance.

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``Perfect!'' said Kerrigan's coach Evy Scotvold, when asked how he thought she performed. ``She was very aggressive on a very difficult night.''

The skating exhibition gave Kerrigan the opportunity to make up for her missed performance at the US nationals in Detroit last month.

Kerrigan received the confirmation of her conditional acceptance to the Olympic team from the US Figure Skating Association Wednesday when she skated her routines before a judging panel. She had been placed conditionally on the team after being unable to perform in the national championships in Detroit following an attack by a man wielding a metal club on Jan. 6.

Meanwhile, Tonya Harding has received a request from the hearing panel of the US Figure Skating Association to respond to a statement of charges within 30 days. The panel called for a disciplinary hearing to investigate allegations that Ms. Harding was involved in the attack on Kerrigan.

Kerrigan, however, said her injury has not inhibited her skating during her preparation. In fact, her only slip in her performance over the weekend came during the final bows at the show's end.

Kerrigan performed four routines, including the complete short program required for Olympic competition, and a pairs routine with former Olympian Paul Wylie.

Mr. Wylie captured the silver medal in the 1992 games and is Kerrigan's former training partner.

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Kerrigan, who has not performed in front of a crowd since December, said the performance was great preparation for the Olympics.

``Any time you perform well, especially in front of a crowd, it gives your confidence a boost,'' she said after her performance.

Each successful jump brought cheers from the enthusiastic spectators in Northeastern's Matthews arena.

``This was the most thrilling night I've ever had with Nancy Kerrigan,'' said Mr. Scotvold. ``It was very, very moving. I had a hard time seeing some of it. I had a little dew in my eyes.''

Others who performed at the exhibition were former Olympians Scott Hamilton who captured the gold medal during the 1984 games, Todd Eldredge who competed on the 1992 team, and Wylie. The performance also included other top individual and pair skaters from around the country.

All proceeds from the exhibition goes to charity. The event was organized to give Kerrigan an opportunity to perform in front of a crowd before the games in Lillehammer, but received national attention when CBS aired a one-hour special on the show on Saturday.

Kerrigan said she had no opinion when asked about the status of teammate Tonya Harding on the Olympic team.

``It's been a really tough month for me,'' Kerrigan said. ``I'm ready to go and I can't wait to get there.''

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