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Shuster shunted as U.S. men's skip

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VANCOUVER -- Desperate times call for desperate measures so the U.S. men's curling team at the 2010 Winter Olympics has shaken up its lineup in a major way.

Things have not gone well for the American curling team at this championship. Skip John Shuster lost his first four games and three of them were in extra ends where he missed his final shot -- allowing the other teams to steal victories.

Although Shuster told reporters that nothing was going to change on his team -- he was wrong.

USA Curling announced that Shuster is now out of the lineup and will be replaced by Chris Plys, the 2008 world junior champion, who had been an alternate. The decision was made after the U.S. fell to 0-4.

Oprah loves the mitts

VANCOUVER -- Even Oprah Winfrey had to get her paws on these mitts.

America's hottest TV talk show host sported Canada's coolest Olympic swag on her talk show Friday -- a pair of HBC's red mittens with a white Maple Leaf on the palm.

Appearing as a guest from Vancouver, NBC journalist Matt Lauer joked on air that he scoured the entire country to get her a pair but they'd been snapped up off every shelf.

The daytime TV queen already had her own, and then proceeded to give the $10 'it' item of the Vancouver Games away to her entire cheering audience.

An HBC spokeswoman says they sent a batch of more than 300 pairs at Oprah's request.

Lago's kiss of death

VANCOUVER -- American halfpipe bronze medallist Scotty Lago is heading home from the Vancouver Olympics after risque pictures of him showed up on the Internet.

Lago, who was awarded his bronze medal Thursday night, was at a party, wearing a Team USA T-shirt when somebody snapped a photo of a woman kneeling below Lago's waist to kiss his medal. The picture showed up Friday on the TMZ website.

He apologized to officials at the U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association and voluntarily decided to return home.

NFL star on the button

VANCOUVER -- From David Letterman's Top 10 list that proclaimed "no one cares" about "boring" curling, to TMZ's declaration that all the sweeping makes the game look like glorified housework, there's no shortage of people taking shots at the Olympic sport.

But San Francisco 49ers all-pro tight end Vernon Davis has a message for all the naysayers: "Get a life."

"This is one of the most impressive sports I've ever seen in my life because it takes a lot," Davis told The Canadian Press on Friday as he cheered the American men's curling team on at the Vancouver Games.

"You have to put a lot into it, a lot of time, effort and there's a lot of strategy that goes behind this game... You're not out here just throwing stones all over the place."

Davis first gave curling a shot in December when the American team was practising at a California rink.

He took a liking to the sport and produced promotional spots for USA Curling. For his efforts, he was named an honorary captain for the men's squad.

-- From the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 20, 2010 D2

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