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CBS figures to like skating

Compulsory figures have been dropped from the Olympics for the first time, turning women's figure skating into a new event.

This means the participants no longer have to skate over specific designs on the ice and precisely trace them over and over. It also means that the winner will definitely be the best skater.

That's good news for CBS, because U.S. skaters Kristi Yamaguchi and Nancy Kerrigan finished 1-2 in the original program Wednesday.

Each of the competitors perform two routines. The original, or short program, counts as one-third of the total score. The long-program, which counts two-thirds, will be shown tonight during prime time.

For each program, each of the nine judges gives marks for technical merit, or difficulty and execution, and for artistic impression. It is believed that Yamaguchi, although not known for making the big jumps, has the most sparkle and showmanship.

Breakfast at Meribel: CBS is showing today's Team USA-Unified Team semifinal hockey game live (11 a.m. on the East Coast) in all time zones, which means 9 a.m. in Denver and 8 a.m. in Los Angeles.

Ratings: CBS' Wednesday night prime-time performance topped the network's season-to-date Wednesday night overnight average by 13.4 ratings points. The rating was 25.6 with a 37 share, CBS' best Wednesday overnight figures of the season. CBS won the ratings over the competition in every half-hour from 8 to 11 p.m.

_ JOHN HARRIS

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