THE ROYAL TREATMENT: Anne, the Princess Royal didn’t scale the world’s largest climbing wall at Galyan’s Sporting Goods in Salt Lake City, but she dug her heels in Wednesday and bought herself a pair of $40 Merrell children’s boots. Who knew HRH had such small feet? Misinformed about the store’s hours, she and her husband, Commodore Tim Laurence, arrived too early and had to call in help from the store’s staff. Apparently, the pair of freebie Adidas ankle boots she picked up this week weren’t cutting it in the deep freeze.

ON THIN ICE: Gold medal gymnast Nadia Comaneci and gold medal swimmer Donna de Varona hashed out the pairs skating controversy over a glass of wine Wednesday night at the IOC’s club at the Winter Games.

“The Olympics is about how good you are that day,” argued de Varona, an on-site consultant to USOC president Sandy Baldwin.

Comaneci offered her husband Bart Connor’s opinion: “In gymnastics, you can’t fall and win, but you can in figure skating,” she said. “In gymnastics, if you lose half a point, forget about it,” Comaneci said, slicing her hand across her throat for effect.

De Varona added, “I’ve always thought gymnastics prepares you for life because it’s not fair. As swimmers, we raced the clock and I always expected life to be fair. It’s not.”

But Comaneci had a different take: “We always expect less and when we get more, it’s a reward. Maybe it’s the culture.”

STARS AND STRIPES: Kristi Yamaguchi, the Goodwill Ambassador for the Winter Games, has been showing her patriotic spirit with a Nicole Miller beaded red, white and blue handbag. The good-luck charm was a gift from a friend at Celanese Acetate, one of her corporate sponsors.

THE FIRE WITHIN: At Salt Lake’s Dead Goat Saloon, the Olympic Flame (aka the Flaming Dr. Pepper) is the hot drink with fans. For $3 a pop, Bacardi 151 and Amaretto are ignited, then doused in half a glass of beer and downed. LeeAnn Rimes stopped by after her opening night performance but passed on the torch.

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