Legally blind because of a degenerative condition that began 20 years ago and affects both eyes, Nancy Kerrigan's mother cannot see her skate without the benefit of a television placed inches from her face.
Fortunately for Brenda Kerrigan, CBS arranged for her to sit near a monitor during the women's figure skating this week at the Olympic Ice Hall. Her daughter is in second place after the original program and will attempt to win a medal in tonight's freestyle program.
"It's a shame to call a human being a black dot, but that's how they look to me," she said of the skaters during practice Thursday. When Kerrigan, who lives with her parents in Stoneham, Mass., starts learning a new program, she walks and talks her way through it in the living room so her mother can grasp it.
But during the performances, her mother said: "I can't tell it's her, except that I know the costume and the music or if they put a close-up on television of her face.
"Everyone tells me, 'Nancy, she's beautiful.' When they show a close-up, I say, 'Yeah, she really is.' "
Touche: The only skater ahead of Kerrigan is her roommate in the Olympic village, Kristi Yamaguchi of Fremont, Calif.
Asked what they discussed when they returned to their room after Wednesday night's original program, Kerrigan said, "We talked about the silly questions we get asked by the media."
The youngest member of the U.S. Winter Olympic team, Nicole Ziegelmeyer, 16, of Imperial, Mo., won a silver medal Thursday night in the short-track speedskating 3,000-meter relay.
But even before then, her name was well-known among male athletes who have been reading the information that athletes provide about themselves in the central computer system.
"I'm a lusty sex maniac, and I want you," she typed into the system for all credentialed athletes, officials and journalists to see, adding her home address and phone number.
Acknowledging that she has been busy rebuffing advances from athletes, especially skiers and biathletes, she said: "I was just being stupid."
She also said that her initial message in the system was more provocative, but she toned it down.
What was the initial message?
"I don't remember," she said, smiling.