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LIPINSKI FALTERS AT NATIONALS, COULD STILL GO TO OLYMPICS

          Tara Lipinski "took a nasty fall to place fourth" in
     the short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships
     yesterday, according to USA TODAY's Debbie Becker.  The next
     chapter "comes in Saturday night's final event, when the
     U.S. champion is crowned and three women are named to the
     Olympic team" (USA TODAY, 1/9).  In Boston, John Powers
     reports that even if Lipinski doesn't finish in the top
     three, the USFSA's int'l committee "could vote her onto the
     team based on her results over the past two seasons."  But
     Nicole Bobek, currently in second place, said, "Whoever
     places what here, they should be sent" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/9).
          NOTES: Campbell's spokesperson Kevin Lowery, on the
     company's decision to feature Lipinski, Kwan and Bobek on
     soup cans even though the Olympic squad is not yet set and
     one of the three could be left off the team: "This is our
     campaign.  We would not change it."  Lowery said that the
     three were chosen because of their name recognition, and
     added, "This is not at all a campaign about who's going to
     the next level.  This is a way to help personify our
     interest in creating awareness about U.S. figure skating"
     (Ken Rosenthal, Baltimore SUN, 1/9)....In Philadelphia,
     Francesca Chapman reports that "women vastly outnumber the
     men" in attending the skating championships.  CBS Sports
     Producer David Winner estimates figure skating's audience to
     be about 60% female (DAILY NEWS, 1/9)....USA TODAY's Debbie
     Becker reports that an Olympic title for Kwan or Lipinski
     would be worth more than $15M in performance and appearance
     fees, "particularly if they delay turning professional and
     compete in the 2002 Olympics" (USA TODAY, 1/9).

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