Class acts amid the meltdowns in the Olympics

I think I was more nervous watching her than she was skating.

The announcers kept shrieking about her "triple-triple combination," whatever that is, and her clean jumps and effortless spins.

But all I saw was a kid having the time of her life and wowing the figure-skating intelligentsia while most other 16-year-olds were dozing through trigonometry.

Then there was Emily Hughes, coolly finishing seventh just a week after she got a phone call telling her to pack and get on a plane for Turin so she could replace the great Michelle Kwan for the U.S. And then there was Sasha Cohen.

Watching Cohen skate last and energize the crowd was like watching Springsteen take the stage after the audience sat through Sting and Hootie and the Blowfish.

She was that good in taking over first place, crisp and confident and joyful, even better than her chief rival, reigning world champion Irina Slutskaya of Russia.

Tonight we get to see how they all do again, Sasha Cohen and Kimmie Meissner and Emily Hughes, in the long program.

It's better than watching Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick pout, Bode Miller choke and that crazy Italian ice dancer stare daggers at her partner.

Speaking of daggers, I wonder how this whole nasty business between The Donald and Martha will turn out?

You want to see glares - throw them together on the ice at Turin.

And watch the ratings go through the roof.

kevin.cowherd@baltsun.com

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