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MORSI PICCOLI

THUMBS UP

TED LIGETY

It's the story the Olympics thrive on: Underdog comes back from seemingly insurmountable deficit to win the United States' first Alpine skiing gold since 1994.

THUMBS DOWN

BODE MILLER

It's the Olympics. At least pretend to care.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"You can't buy normal jeans with those legs."

Tony Tuzzolino, Italian hockey player, giving regular people a reason to appreciate their unfitness while watching men's speed skating

LEARN THE LANGUAGE

"PLEASE?"

Per favore (payr fa-voray)

Q&A

In the 1988 figure skating competition, gold medalist Katarina Witt of East Germany and bronze medalist Debi Thomas of the U.S. both skated to what music?

A. "Bolero"

B. "Star Wars"

C. "Carmen"

Answer

C.

BY THE NUMBERS

33

Consecutive Olympic goals scored by Canada's women's hockey team before an opponent scored one Tuesday

789,000

Tickets sold for all events through Tuesday

1.03-million

Tickets still available for all events

3.5 million

Sales to date in dollars of licensed merchandise at official Olympic stores

18.7-million

Page views on NBCOlympics.com through Day 3 of competition, up 400 percent from Salt Lake City in 2002

MUST HAVE BEEN THE DAISY DUKES

Jessica Simpson has been credited with inspiring many men to do many things, not all of them constructive. But Joey Cheek is out to change her image. He says that before the races that won him the 500-meter speed skating gold medal, he watched the movie version of The Dukes of Hazzard. Then he went out and "skated out of my head. ... I've never skated races that well before."

THE TOP GUNS ARE HERE

Only the Olympics could bring the Pope and Tom Cruise together. One of the goalies for the Italian men's hockey team, former NHLer Jason Muzzatti, has a mask with portraits of Pope John Paul II and the Virgin Mary on it. Another, Gunther Hell, has one with a portrait of Cruise's character in The Last Samurai.

FIRST BIG CELEBRITY SIGHTING!

Donald Sutherland has been seen at curling and pairs figure skating.

You know, Keifer's dad? The evil guy on Commander in Chief -- which isn't even an NBC show, and which has been pulled off the air until April by its network, ABC, so at least he's not competing with himself.

At curling Monday afternoon, he was recognized by Minnesotan Becki Lapham, 52. He agreed to pose for a picture. "He didn't smile," she said.

GROUPIES STILL FLOCK TO THE ROLLING STONES

. . . Even when Mick, Keith, Ron and Charlie aren't involved. Toshimi Kasai of Japan put on the curling version of the cheesehead to watch his country's women's team face Russia on Tuesday (Russia won 7-5). And seen at one of the U.S. women's matches Monday was a sign directed at team sex symbols Cassie and Jamie Johnson: "2 Johnson sisters, 2 of us, Coincidence?"

DIAGNOSIS: A TOTAL MESS

His friends worry about him. His wife has (temporarily) deserted him. His son doesn't want him around. But Larry Bloom says that his Olympic experience has been worth it all.

Who's Larry Bloom?

The father of American freestyle skier/NFL hopeful/sex symbol Jeremy Bloom, who competes in moguls today.

Larry, at home in Fort Collins, Colo., says he hasn't slept in four weeks. He can't eat. And he paces around the house. He's not in Turin because Jeremy asked his parents to stay home to keep distractions to a minimum.

"There was no way he could keep his mother away ... but I agreed not to go," Larry says.

His friends are afraid that he has lost his individuality in all this Jeremania. "And they're right," says Larry, 58. "But when your own identity is overwhelmed by the reflected glory of your child, it's like Father's Day or Mother's Day."

Sounds like Larry needs help, doesn't it? He might agree. He is a clinical psychologist.

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