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Games left us valuable lessons

What we learned from the Winter Olympics:

ONE inescapable fact of life is that anyone can have their place in the world boiled down to three words or less: pizza shop owner, disgraced coach, ugly American, ever-talkative, sunny boy, battered by scandal/failure, curl girls, hot dogger, The Flying Tomato.

IF curling really wants to break into the pop culture mainstream, it needs a better marketer. Those cute American women need to sell themselves as "curl guuuurrrrrlllllllllzzzzzz."

A quick head count shows that curling had more athletes described as sex symbols than any other sport.

THE soul patch should not make a comeback.

THE Chinese don't get Ricky Martin. When NBC cut away from Martin's bon-bon-shaking performance at the Closing Ceremonies on Sunday to a group of their athletes, the Chinese were wearing those smiles that say "We have no idea what's going on here, but everyone else does, so we'll just pretend we do."

FIGURE skating costumes have returned to their cheap Vegas lounge act roots.

LIGHTNING goalie John Grahame and U.S. skiing bust Bode Miller look a lot alike. Come to think of it, has anyone ever seen them together?

IT took 3,000 people to put together NBC's multinetwork TV coverage, Bob Costas said at the end of the final prime time show Sunday. It took 23 people, NBC says, to work its Olympic Web site, which got record levels of hits and page views as the prime time ratings took a dive.

TV isn't dead yet. The Nielsen people say that last Thursday - a night with the women's figure skating final program, American Idol, Survivor, Dancing with the Stars, CSI and Without a Trace - 11-million more people than usual watched TV.

ANYONE else think that Michelle Kwan signed on to be a spokeswoman for ABC-owning Disney just to keep Fox from asking her to be on the next Skating with Celebrities?

ANYONE else think that Kwan will have to be on the next Dancing with the Stars to properly show Disney her appreciation?

Sharon Fink can be reached at (727) 893-8525 or