Lisa Leigh Parney, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor
Q: Why are professional hockey players allowed to participate in the Olympics?
A: According to "The Complete Book of the Winter Olympics, 1998," by David Wallechinsky, Olympic ice hockey remained a sport for amateurs until Communist Czechoslovakia joined in 1948 and the Soviet Union followed in 1956. Their teams were all full-time hockey players, but because their salaries were paid by governments and not by profitmaking clubs, they were considered amateurs. This gave an edge to the USSR and Czechoslovakia, which were able to use their best and most experienced players, while the rest of the world had only those who were still amateurs. After Canada and Sweden boycotted the sport in the 1970s, the International Ice Hockey Federation voted in 1987 to make all professionals, including players from the NHL, eligible for the Olympics.
The 1998 Games is the first time, however, that the NHL has suspended the season for a two-week period. The NBA also suspends its season for the summer Olympics. Q: What is ice dancing, and how does it differ from pairs figure skating? …