Skating without the pesky judges


See, if only those pesky judges weren't around, figure skating would be really fun.

Hey, here's an idea: Skaters could take to the ice without judges all around the country. It could be like a tour, a parade of skaters. Call it Ice Parades.

Anyhow, last night's exhibition skating during CBS' prime-time show brought out some of the best in the competitors.

No one captured the spirit better than France's Phillipe Candeloro. He was Rocky, complete with boxing gloves. Candeloro even stopped in his trip through the stands to the ice to jab at CBS' Scott Hamilton.

(Given their comments on Tonya Harding, CBS' announcers would have been best advised to duck if she had shown up to do that bit.)

Candeloro skated shirtless to James Brown's "Living in America." I feel good, indeed.

Most spectacular was Surya Bonaly's back flip. Bonaly landed it on one foot. Hamilton noted that it hurts him enough just to land that move on two feet.

Maybe we could sign him up for Ice Parades anyway.

Given the thumb

Deborah Norville asked short-track speed skater Cathy Turner, "Are you a survivor?"

That's a good Geraldo-Oprah-Sally Jessy kind of question, but leave it to event officials to give the final answer -- no.

Turner, accused of rough skating in the 500-meter race, was disqualified in the 1,000 for contact with other competitors. Analyst Paul Wylie apparently saw it coming.

"Frankly, the officials were not going to let her get away with anything," he said.

Same station

CBS' frequent mentions of the next Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, in 1998, amount to a "We'll be right back -- in four years." The network is trying to plant the idea in our heads to tune in to CBS again in '98.

Four years? Won't we all be cruising down the 500-channel information superhighway by then?

Paid by the word?

John Morgan, CBS bobsled analyst, has been quick with an opinion on anything that happens at Hunderfossen, the event venue.

Yesterday, in observing an Austrian four-man team hustle into its sled at the start, Morgan said: "Boy, they're in there quick."

Then the Austrians' mediocre start time flashed on the screen.

"Maybe they're in there quicker than they should be," Morgan said.

But not as quick as Morgan.

Call him Joe Cool

Al Trautwig yesterday kept up the search for "Pajama Man," the cross country ski fan who dived into the snow near the finish line wearing only what looked like pajamas. A little camera trickery also placed PJ Man behind Dan Jansen, but Trautwig said the fellow remains a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

Here's one possibility why Mr. Pajama can't be found: The guy hasn't thawed yet.

Numbers game

Women's figure skating Armageddon drew impressive ratings prime time Friday for CBS, though not as high as the first skirmish on Wednesday.

Preliminary national numbers show a 43.9 rating and 64 share for Friday. On Wednesday, when the possibility still existed for a Nancy Kerrigan-Harding faceoff, CBS' numbers were 48.5/64.

For the first 14 nights of the Games, CBS' prime-time telecasts have averaged 28.6/43, up 47 percent from the 1992 Albertville Olympics.

Ratings measure the percentage of television households watching a program. Shares measure the percentage among homes where television is in use. Because this was just an exhibition, I typed those two sentences with my shirt off. (Hope that image doesn't ruin your breakfast.)

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