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JOANNIE ROCHETTE'S SHORT PROGRAM
The Canadian figure skater took to the ice two days after the sudden death of her mother — and delivered a near-perfect program. Afterward, she (understandably) burst into tears as the crowd cheered, a scene so moving, Scott Hamilton's voice broke mid-commentary. It was truly heartbreaking. And great TV. (Rochette's long program was similarly moving and masterful: She took the bronze medal.)
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STEPHEN COLBERT CRAWLING INTO NBC'S FAUX FIRE
Oh Stephen Colbert, thank you for bringing your unique brand of truthiness to NBC's winter lodge set. By crawling into the spectacularly fake fire, you exposed the ridiculousness of the network's overly earnest tone. (Speaking of ''spectacularly fake,'' Bob Costas' hair color gets an honorable mention for providing hours of entertainment.)
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SHAUN WHITE'S VICTORY RUN
He played it safe in his first half-pipe run — and it was still better than any of the other snowboarders'. So White had already clinched gold by the time he dropped in for his second go-round. It could have been a throw-away. But what does he do? Throw down the mother o all runs, capped of by his signature new trick, the Double McTwist 1260, two backflips with 3.5 rotations of his board. Amazing.
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JULIA MANCUSO'S TIARA
If Lindsay Vonn is the darling of the American women's ski team, then Mancuso — who took home silver medals for the downhill and the women's super combined — is the princess, thanks to her blinged-out head gear. (Fashion editors take note: It's a rare accessory that can transition so easily from mountain to medal ceremony.)
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THE U.S. BEATING CANADA IN HOCKEY — EVEN ONCE
Even if the gold-medal upset wasn't meant to be — damn it! — watching the underdog men's team pull out a preliminary-round victory against the host team Feb. 1 was thrilling. In fact, it was downright golden.
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THE ''PERFECT DAY'' ADS
Best ad of the Games? To our own Annie Barrett, it had to be Gretchen Bleiler's AT&T commercial featuring Lou Reed's ''Perfect Day.'' Why? ''She's just hanging out up there [in space] because it's how she'd spend her perfect day; the galactic halfpipe is her heroin.'' Besides, Annie added, ''I can strongly relate to blondie's goggle-gaze at 0:21 when she seems completely zoned out and is LOVIN' IT like some Olympian-sanctioned Chicken McNuggets.''
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EVAN LYSACEK'S FIST PUMP
He'd just given the performance of a lifetime. So who can blame the figure skater for celebrating a tad early? (He was punching the air before he'd even finished his long program.) The Olympic champ gets extra points for his remarkably restrained and courteous response to silver medalist Evgeni Plushenko's gripes.
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SKIING THROUGH PAIN
On Feb. 17, Slovenian cross-country skier Petra Majdic took a spill (that's an understatement: she basically fell down an icy ravine) in a training run for the individual classic sprint. A frontrunner before her tumble, she continued on — somehow managing to win the bronze medal. Even more remarkable? It later turned out that she had been skiing with four broken ribs and a collapsed lung.
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JOHNNY WEIR'S CROWN OF ROSES
From hot-pink corsetry to a feather glove named ''Camille,'' the American figure skater is never afraid to make a fashion statement. But we were still unprepared for the fabulousness that followed his fifth-placing long program, when Weir grabbed a gorgeous crown of blood-red roses and plopped them atop his head. (Somewhere, Julia Mancuso was kicking herself.)
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THOSE COMMERICALS FOR BRITISH COLUMBIA
Okay, so they're a little cheesy. But you gotta admit it was fun discovering a few stars who were secretly Canadian. (Kim Cattrall? Really?) Besides, those shots of Ryan Reynolds in his lumberjack gear were positively swoon-worthy.
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THE WHALES IN THE OPENING CEREMONY
Killer whales have gotten a bad rap in the past few weeks. But there's no denying their beauty — and the 3-D Orcas swimming across the arena's massive screens proved to be the visual highlight of the Opening Ceremony.
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AL MICHAELS' SELF-CONGRATULATION
Watching Olympic hockey was made all the more exciting by the presence of commentator Al Michaels. Watching him pat himself on the back for announcing the 1980 ''do you believe in miracles'' hockey game was delightfully entertaining — the first million times.