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All-Star Salute coming to W.V.

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Just call it the unofficial, made-for-TV opening ceremonies.

How else to describe Tuesday's All-Star Olympic Salute at the E Center?

The 7:30 p.m. event is billed as an ice-skating gala, but it's more show than sport. Yes, former Olympic gold medallists Scott Hamilton, Tara Lipinski and Ekaterina Gordeeva will be there. But so will country music singer Toby Keith, among other artists.

It's a merge of Olympic past and present, with an appearance by members of the 1980 U.S. hockey team, video clips previewing February's events and interviews with American freestyle skiers.

And Bob Costas will be there, emceeing it all.

"Skating is just a part of the show," said Robert Horowitz, senior vice president of TWI, the production company taping the event live for NBC's telecast Saturday at 8 p.m. MST.

Promoters see the event ? officially dubbed "Allstate presents an All-Star Olympic Salute: Countdown to Salt Lake City" ? as something of a pep rally for the Games.

Tickets range from $29-$64 and are available through Smith'sTix by visiting www.smithstix.com or by calling 1-800-888-8499.

E-mail: slewis@desnews.com