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MORSI PICCOLI (small bites)

AN IRREVERENT LOOK AT THE WINTER OLYMPICS

THUMBS UP

The medical staffs. They had a lot to do Monday, and they acted quickly to get the right help to and hospitalization for all who needed it.

THUMBS DOWN

Robert Esche. The U.S. goalie, who has been credited with dissing the selection of Tampa Bay's John Grahame to the team, said he considered pulling out of the Games after being told Grahame would be the starter

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"I'm not going to be a baby about this." Robert Esche, after saying he had been a baby about not being named the starter

LEARN THE LANGUAGE

"HOW ARE YOU?"

Come sta?

(komay sta)

Q&A

After years of disappointment, Dan Jensen won the 1,000-meter speed skating gold in 1994. When did Jensen make his Olympic debut?

A. 1984

B. 1988

C. 1992

Answer: A

WHY BE PRACTICAL AT A TIME LIKE THIS?

American figure skater Johnny Weir, who competes in the short program today, got in some precompetition shopping on Turin's Via Roma. He bought shoes, shirts and underwear. He decided against buying a mink umbrella. "I figured that it would be ruined after one rainstorm," he said.

HERE'S YOUR CHANCE TO ANNOY DONALD TRUMP

NBC was making pathetic grabs for ratings long before it asked Michelle Kawn to stick around as a commentator. The network decided to use whatever buzz is still left around The Apprentice and got Trump to agree to let viewers vote for one U.S. Olympian to be part of the season that will be taped this summer. Go to www.NBCOlympics.com/apprentice to choose from among 12 athletes. The best-known one (and we use that term loosely) is speed skater Chad Hedrick, who already has won a gold and is chasing Eric Heiden's record of five in one Winter Games. Another candidate is snowboarder Danny Kass, who won silver in the halfpipe. He and his brother own a snowboarding apparel company. "I have to put on the suit and tie every now and then, but it's cool," Kass says.

DAILY DISPATCHES FROM TURIN

JROMANO: Ah, the joy of public transportation. Riding a bus to the women's halfpipe Monday morning I was treated to a man blowing his nose next to me and a woman coughing on my shoulder from behind. If I find someone to sneeze on my sleeve on the way home, I win the trifecta. I'm spending so much time on buses, I'm already on my fourth novel in six days. (Today's recommendation: John Connolly's The Black Angel).

GSHELTON: I'm not quite sure what this means, but they have discovered the bird flu in Italy, and i don't feel so good myself. If that wasn't bad enough, when I left the media village this morning, which is located in the middle of apartment buildings in the bleak suburg of Grugliasco (which is Italian for Starkville), I heard a rooster crowing. Not that I believe in omens, but from here on out, I don't eat the orange eggs.

ADS AND SUBTRACTION

Sunday wasn't a bad day only a for the U.S. team. After Michelle Kwan withdrew and Bode Miller and Apolo Ohno's luster faded, two big TV advertisers had to re-evaluate their ad campaigns and start planning sacrifices to the Olympic gods for a bigger bang for their sponsorship money.

Coke decided to pull one of two its ads that referenced Kwan. A series of ads that features fans cheering for athletes, included one about Kwan. She wasn't seen, but "given that it's cheering her on to win ... we didn't think the ad was still relevant," spokeswoman Susan McDermott said.

Coke is keeping an ad in which an announcer says, "Without ice, Apolo Anton Ohno would be a speed swimmer, Michelle Kwan would be a water skater, and our Cokes would be warm."

Also scheduled to go on was a Visa ad featuring Kwan skating that was to debut Monday night. Its theme is "life takes poetry," and because it's not specifically tied to competition, Visa decided to keep it, chief marketing officer Susanne Lyons said.

Visa also is sticking with an ad the features Miller, who will compete in four more events.

BY THE NUMBERS

.9 -- tenths of a point by which the United States missed sweeping women's halfpipe medals in snowboarding

2.1 -- total points by which the United States missed sweeping the medals in men's and women's halfpipe

3 -- weight in tons of the amount of official Olympic cowbells delivered to stores in and around Turin

4 1/2 -- minutes that Wayne Gretzky's last pre-Turin news conference lasted before a Hockey Canada official ended it because of too many gambling questions

80 to 100 -- number of times Lightning goalie John Grahame said he watched Miracle during the NHL's lost season

900-million -- amount of advertising, in dollars, NBC says it has sold for the Games, which will help it make a profit on the broadcast

HOCKEY PLAYERS HAD NO COMMENT

Former World Cup and gold medal-winning freestyle skiier Jonny Moseley, who does a lot of expert commentating these days, offered this assessment of the U.S. women's team: "I'd definitely say the skiing-snowboarding crew are the ones to shack up with. They're more reckless."

IT STARTS WITH A WAKEUP CALL FROM PARIS

In an effort to make up for its negative contributions to mankind, the Hilton family's hotel chain has teamed with a sleep expert to develop a system to help U.S. athletes recover from travel fatigue. It involves creating an individual program for each athlete by analyzing travel itineraries, sleep patterns, daily body rhythms and performance results, and mixing in scientific research. Each athlete also gets a comfy personalized hoodie from Nicky Hilton's clothing line.

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