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Alexandra

Breaking News: Canadians Awarded Gold

36 posts in this topic

There will be a press conference at 1:00 p.m. CNN just reported that the Canadians will be awarded a gold medal. The Russians will not lose their gold. CNN's take is that the Olympic Committee just wanted this over.

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And this from CNN:

CNN) -- The International Olympic

Committee reversed a judges' panel

decision Friday afternoon and awarded

a gold medal to the Canadian

figure-skating pair who initially won

the silver in a hotly contested

performance ruling Monday night.

The Russian skaters who had won the

gold in that free-style pairs competition

will still keep their gold medal.

The International Skating Union suspended

French f igure skating judge, Marie-Reine

Le Gougne, saying the body had evidence

of misconduct, said Ottavio Cinquanta,

president of the ISU, at a news conference

Friday.

The decision comes less than 24 hours

after Canadian Olympic officials asked the

Court of Arbitration for Sport to award the gold medal to Canada's team.

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Unbelievable that there is a tie for gold. They really need to fix this system. I remember how difficult it was to get Sylvie Frechette, a Canadain synchro swimmer, her gold that was unfairly denied her after a judge mistakenly entered her mark (1992 Olympics maybe). The judge entered 8.9 instead of 9.8 and did not notice until the marks were posted on the screen. He then immediately notified the referee that it was a mistake (all of the other judges had marks in the range of 9.7-9.9) but the result was deemed final. In this case there was no question at all of which performance had won. Sylvie didn't get her gold for years after. But there was no international outcry, just Canadian displeasure. Funny how quickly things can happen with public pressure.

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Perhaps the Olympic committee should investigate the possibilities in setting up a whining competition for unhappy losers. smile.gif

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Wow! I was just logging on to send this article from Dave Barry, the Miami Herald humorist and saw this scoop - what excellent news for S&P to get the gold! There have been a lot of views expressed on this and I am sure the debate will continue. Personally, I am no expert, just an armchair critic who thought their skate was beautiful and I have thought they have been handling it all with a lot of class and dignity. On the lighter side of this controversial subject, read this for a good laugh:

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/livin...rry/2674512.htm

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How about the people who pressured the French judge? I find them more at fault than she is.

Giannina

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I've just heard myself - a very WOW moment! So S&P and B&S will be co-Olympic champions. I'm happy for Sale and Pelletier - I truely think they deserve it. And I really hope this is a step in removing the shadow over Bereznaya and Sikharulidze - it would be a crime if they were remembered for this controversy rather than the champion skaters that they are. As for the judging, it doesn't solve a thing but to quote Sue Davies (BBC commentator) the one good thing to come out of all of this is that the judging well be more scrutinised than ever before.

[ February 15, 2002: Message edited by: sylvia ]

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Tonya Harding must be weeping. All that wasted effort kneecapping her opponent when it could all be settled through protests. Lose, scream, win. I thought the Russians have handled it very gracefully -- I haven't seen them. (Now, I haven't been glued to the tube, either, and so may well have missed them.) I haven't seen grace in the Canadian pairs' behavior, nor sportsmanship. But I'll be glad not to have to see them again.

IMO, the synchronized swimming error was one thing; a typo. This is quite different. A judge's marks stand. Afterwards, you can fire the judge, throw the judge in jail, fine the judge a lifetime's wages IF they're found to be corrupt. The issue of whether one judge was pressured obscured the reasoning behind the votes of the other four. I think this will have a long-term negative effect, because the judging is so subjective. We've just brought the "yeah, well I landed four quads" "Yeah, but we are the true artistes" front and center, and it will be endless. There will be jokes about marks, judges will be afraid to give high marks for skaters from their own countries, etc. or second-guessing themselves and each other. I also agree with Giannina -- if there was pressure, then everyone involved should be booted off. But this isn't about truth, or getting to the bottom of anything. It's about solving a bad situation quickly so the games can continue and we can forget that all of this happened and make lots of money.

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I'm very happy for S&P having finally been awarded the gold medal they earned on Monday night. Now it's time for the ISU to clean house. Will they or won't they?

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Originally posted by alexandra:

I thought the Russians have handled it very gracefully -- I haven't seen them. (Now, I haven't been glued to the tube, either, and so may well have missed them.) I haven't seen grace in the Canadian pairs' behavior, nor sportsmanship. But I'll be glad not to have to see them again.


I've seen the B&S on CNN and they said they were very upset for the first couple days (the misery this controversy has wrought over not one but 2 pairs makes me so angry). But they're quite adamant that they had the more difficult and artistic program and felt they deserved to win. As for S&P, I've read they're going to be on the cover of TIME magazine so I guess we have another month or two of this to swallow.

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I saw the Russians briefly last night -- I don't know if they've shown up frequently, haven't been watching the news too much. They looked and sounded stunned and beleaguered, as you might expect. As I said on another thread, I'm sorry for them.

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Maybe it's time to revive that old professional competition "SKATE WARS - North America vs The World"! I can see a nice lucrative meet for the autumn's TV sweeps week - Berezhnaia/Sikharulidze vs Sale/Pelletier as The Main Event. NBC can charge $1,000,000 per 30-second advertisement spot. biggrin.gif

"War & Peace on Ice: The Docudrama" will also be produced, undoubtedly.

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If only ballet, or dance and the arts in general, got this much attention in the media!!!! biggrin.gif

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Oh, leibling, amen to that. I think of that so often when watching local TV news. We have one station here that does THREE HOURS of local news. They cover the laundry better than they do the arts. (There's a "lively arts" critic who covers TV and movies. Wow. When he does stick a stubby little toe into ballet, he's embarrassing, a real "I'm a real guy and drink beer and everything so I don't get this icky stuff" type.

Just think of turning on the evening news and getting two minutes of ballet, opera, dance, theater news. Not just the competitions, or who got a grant, or new works. I'm greedy. How about "Vishneva was ravishing in "Rubies" last night, while Korsakov, subtituting for an injured colleague, once again nailed the "Emeralds" pas de trois."

Do you think if we picketed, it would help?

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Why do I get the impression this would have played out differently -- and these comments might not be as cutting -- if this had happened to a couple of American skaters? frown.gif

I think Sale and Pelletier handled this VERY graciously. If they were just whining about nothing, they wouldn't have handed them a gold medal today. And by the way, I agree with a bunch of American journalists on CNN today who think the Russians should get the silver. Can there really be two gold medals? This must be a first.

Shame on the French judge, the back-room Russians and all those corrupt Olympic officials who take bribes right left and center. It's increasingly apparent, from the host city bribe scandal to this, that the whole Olympic enterprise is rotting at the core. frown.gif

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Back to Alexandra's comments in her earlier post on this thread where she said that she thinks this decision will only make things worse in judging in the future. Although I usually agree with you, Alexandra, in this case I take issue with your comments.

I believe that all this hoopla will benefit skating in the end. This has been building for decades. I think no one was willing to deal with the vagaries of ice skating judges back in the days of the Iron Curtain because it was politically too dangerous. There were serious East/West politics involved, far beyond the scope of any sports medals. It was accepted that there was, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, impropriety in the judging.

But very clearly, since the breakup of the Eastern bloc, there's been pressure mounting publicly for changes to take place. And that's because it's safe politically to apply such pressure. This latest decision to award the Canadians a joint gold medal along with the Russians is really a decision whose origins began in about 1990 and reached the pressure cooker level at the Nagano Olympics. I don't find it a bad thing that the media is pushing it front and center regardless of their motives. (It certainly makes an exciting story).

That the decision was made about this particular pairs event is immaterial. The Russians and Canadians are just pawns in this matter. And that's OK although I do feel sorry for both pairs to be stuck at the center of the controversy. But changes have been overdue for a long time. The judging community has been issued a humiliating wake-up call. I think we can expect fairer judging and less back-room dealings in the future. Having devotedly watched figure skating competitions since way back in the days when Carol Heiss won her Olympic gold in 1960, I have to say I'm cheering loudly right now. This sport deserves a judging overhaul.

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be careful what you wish for. Last time I recall ballet making front page was the "Ballet Bully" headlines from the Martins/Kistler Saratoga incident.

Controversy always stirs up interest. Just not necessarily the interest you would like.

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vagansmom, while I agree with what you say about judging needing an overhaul, I think it's possible to question how the aggrieved parties -- and I don't exempt S&P here -- have conducted themselves, and how this unhappy situation has been resolved. Of course it's a good story, but I wonder whether the media firestorm has illuminated the issues, or obscured them. And giving out a second gold medal, especially in these circumstances, devalues all the medals, IMO.

And it certainly would be pleasant if the arts got as much coverage. Maybe if Dvorovenko hired a couple of stagehands to whack Julie Kent in the knees? Or if ballerinas began giving teary-eyed interviews asserting the perfection of their technique when someone else is assigned to dance the opening "Giselle" of the season...?

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Dirac and everyone else

Having seen both pairs programs and having been at the Olympics for this controversy, I feel that awarding a second set of gold medals was the best solution. The situation needed to be settled for the time being as it was taking over the coverage from the rest of the sports & athletes. I have no doubt that the investigation will be ongoing-there's no way the skating world will let the ISU get away with anything less than a thorough investigation.

Sale and Pelletier have been NOTHING LESS than extremely gracious, polite and have always maintained that they skated their best, and that the rest was out of their (and all other other skaters) hands. In fact, they made it clear today that they were upset that this controversy was taking away newstime/coverage from the other athletes. Sale and Pelletier HAVE NOT been whining at all-they have never said that they should be awarded gold medals. They haven't made any negative comments about the Russians, and were perfectly polite and gracious at the medals ceremony. In fact the handshakes were very sincere and there were smiles at the awards ceremony. We have seen much more of S&P on TV, granted, but that's probably because the Russians are not very comfortable conversing in English and have been advised/decided not to do many interviews. There is no doubt that the press would be very willing to interview B&S had the opportunity been there.

My point is that we SHOULD NOT in any way blame the atheletes, including both B&S and S&P. They both skated brilliant programs, and had nothing to do with the tainting of the judging. PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT blame S&P for this-in all the news coverage they have been humble and polite.

And for the record, all the appeals etc. by the Canadian OC were made according to the rules and regulations. There have been THREE previous cases of two gold medals being awarded, so this is not unprecedented.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but to sum it up-something needed to be done, none of the athletes were at fault and so they should not be blamed for the decision that was made.

Kate

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It seems to me that the skating union gave the gold to S&P so fast in hopes that they could get beyond this scandal -- and quickly. But it's obvious a more thorough investigation and housecleaning has to be conducted.

As someone said it wasn't just the French judge that should be punished here. She's the whistle blower, isn't she? It certainly seems scandalous that the other collaborators haven't been punished.

What's more, I find it really amazing that this Ukrainian judge, Balkov, is scheduled to continue voting on the ice dancing. And with the full support of Ottavio Cinquanta, the skating union president. Balkov was suspended for only a year after a 1998 scandal in Nagano, where he was apparently caught by a Canadian in a similar incident. Cinquanta defends this as saying he served his suspension, and he has a right to judge again. It seems to me both the public and the athletes deserve better. Judging the Olympics doesn't seem to be a right to me.

If this is the attitude Cinquanta and the rest of the skating union take to scandals like this, it's clear that controversy can only help. Without it, it seems there was little incentive to change.

[ February 15, 2002: Message edited by: justafan ]

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Actually, S&P have not been perfectly gracious, stating several times that their program was 'perfect' and that 'everyone knew that they had won'. Those comments, quickly followed by "not to take anything away from the Russians", were inappropriate. It's one thing to say that there were disappointed in the result but to make a claim for perfection is a little much. And for people not trying to stir up more controversy or detract from other athletes, it seems S&P are on a few too many talk shows to accomplish that.

Like the example stated above, if a principal was not given a role she thought she deserved and made several claims about her 'perfect technique' on several national/international programs this same ballet audience would be very critical of that dancer. The Russians have only appeared once, on Larry King last night, and I would describe them as grace under pressure.

And two gold medals?? I agree that this is simply an attempt to put a quick to the scandal. And it's unfortunate that it turned out this way before a full, independent inquiry was completed and actual evidence of wrongdoing presented to the public.

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While it seems as though the French judge is being treated as a scapegoat here, I'm guessing the logic (if one can call it that) in punishing her and no one else lies with the fact that she's the only one who's confessed to the misdeed. She incriminated herself. Since the other judges are apparently remaining close-mouthed, the reasoning seems to be that you can't punish someone without evidence. Of course, it takes two to tango. But I can't figure out any other reason for the actions taken against the French judge alone.

I don't have an opinion about the awarding of the second gold medal. The arguments for and against doing so both have merit. But I DO feel it's good to have the issue addressed promptly.

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There's also the problem that we can't really know if the French judge, if she was indeed 'pressured', voted for the Russians because of that pressure. It is not necessarily the case that she didn't honestly feel that the Russians were better overall. And 4 other judges, who apparently weren't pressured, agreed with her position. If she was the only one who voted for the Russians then I'd find it very suspicious. But she was only one of five, so obviously her decision had some merit regardless of which pair you personally favour.

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one part of the explanation that i heard was that when they disallowed the french judge's marks, the ones that were left were exactly the same for both pairs and were essentially tied.

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