If only their experience with the Olympic judges could have gone so smoothly. On Dec. 30 Jamie Sale and David Pelletier--who were nearly robbed of a pairs figure skating gold medal at the 2002 Olympics by a corrupt French judge--were married in Banff, Alberta. Sale, 28, and Pelletier, 31, started dating six years ago, shortly after they began skating together. A judge presided over the ceremony, which was attended by 115 guests. At the altar Sale spoke her husband's native French, declaring, "I love his smile, how he laughs and that he's my soul mate." Pelletier took a page from Dr. Seuss in his vows, promising in English, "I will love you when we are rich; I will love you if we are poor and in a ditch." The newlyweds (right) are expected to provide TV commentary at the Turin Games.
• It's a safe bet that the bongo playing went on well into the night after Texas's 41-38 win over USC in the Rose Bowl. UT alum Matthew McConaughey spent the game roaming the Texas sideline, and when time expired, he hung around the field to hug fellow fan Lance Armstrong. In lieu of a victory stogie, McConaughey offered guard Kasey Studdard some chewing tobacco (Studdard declined) before telling him, "You're Number 1 for the rest of your life. No one can ever take that from you." Then PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive joined Armstrong, Titans QB Steve McNair and Texas alum Roger Clemens in the locker room.
• Shortly after they started dating, in 2002, Diamondbacks minor leaguer Casey Daigle shared a dream with softball star Jennie Finch. "Within two weeks of meeting," Finch, 25, says, "Casey told me that he always wanted to name his first son Ace." Finch stayed with him anyway, and they were married last January. Now the couple have announced that they are expecting their first child--a boy whom they've already decided to name Ace Shane Daigle--in April. Finch, who in 2005 was 14-0 for the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch softball league, is eager to return to the mound. "Opening weekend is in June," she says. "I plan on being on the field."
• Spike Lee is not about to give up on his beloved Knicks, who at press time were 10-21. But if he does decide he wants an additional squad to pull for, there's at least one that would be happy to have him. After enduring the Knicks' 102-96 loss to Indiana at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 17 (he sat next to his former nemesis, ex-Pacer Reggie Miller, who was there as Lee's guest), Lee was invited to a Rangers game by New York goalie Kevin Weekes. After the game--a 2-1 loss to the Avalanche--Lee and his two kids visited the Rangers' locker room, where Weekes handed out autographed sticks to the kids and the director, who seemed to enjoy himself. "I'm sure he'll come back," says Weekes.
Well, they call it a loving cup, so why shouldn't Stuart Appleby plant one on the trophy he received for winning the Mercedes Championships (page 50). The PGA's first event of 2006 was a mirror image of the last two season openers: Appleby is the first player since Gene Littler (1955-57) to win three straight Mercedes titles. "First time, great," he said. "Second time, awesome. Third time--it's the wrong English--but more awesomer."
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
China won't financially assist its top female tennis player if she turns pro unless she guarantees a 2008 Olympic gold medal in writing.
They Said It
STU GRIMSON, former NHL goon (below, right) who recently graduated from the University of Memphis School of Law at age 40:
"I've gone from being the Grim Reaper to being the Grim Reader."
FRED VUICH (PICTURE THIS)
SCOTT GRANT/REUTERS (GRIMSON)
LARRY MACDOUGAL/CP PHOTO (SALE AND PELLETIER)