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Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006

Responses, Part 9
Should judging in figure skating be examined?

Here are responses to the above question:

After Nagano, I felt that ice dance should be taken off the Olympic roster. But after last nights pairs competition, I think that a move should now be made to have all figure skating events removed from the Olympic Games until the ISU is not run like a tin-pot dictatorship. What a disappointment when every competition hinges on the backroom wrangling of the eastern block judges! (I can't wait to see what happens to the French and Russian dance teams now) Salé and Pelletier - what a show - you'll always be the champions to me!

If the International Olympic Committee is committed to testing athletes to determine if they are using performance-enhancing drugs, perhaps they should redirect their efforts on figure skating judges whose own performances are impaired by self-interest. What would work best -- a urine test or a well-placed kick in the ass?
David Henderson

With all due respect to the talented men and women who dedicate their lives to the sport, this latest scandal is just another reason why figure skating should not be an Olympic sport. The spirit of the Olympics is to determine the best, the fastest and the strongest through competition...any sport that is "judged" is susceptible to corruption and politics - not to mention human frailty. Imagine the affect on your psyche, having sacrificed years to reach the top of your sport, only to have your ultimate reward denied because some miserable old fart thought another team was more "artistic". There's a reason why Opera Singing and Sculpture aren't included in the Olympic Games.
Michael B.

Skating is rigged. Face it, the winners of the event were determined before any one got to Salt Lake City. Basically, the Russian pair was to be awarded the gold because the Canadian pair won 1st place in the Worlds. Though figure skating, ice dancing, and the like are wonderful spectator events they are too subjective to be classified as sports. The reality is that these events, though not true "sports", and are subjected to corrupt judging, will forever be part of the Olympics because they are the biggest draws for the Winter Olympics. Money talks.

It's a shame. If I were that French judge I wouldn't feel great today. David et Jamie étaient parfaits, ils méritaient la médaille d'or.
Marie Claudine

There must be a way of appealing to the judgment of last night's results. It is so obvious the judges were blind to the mistakes of the Russian skaters. Jamie and David should have gotten the Gold. There should be an investigation or a committee to ensure future competitions are judged fairly.
Larry Wong

Yes, because Canada always gets the short end of the stick, our athleats try so hard, and are never recognized for their efforts. Salé and Pelletier, had the best performance last night, and were hit with a bat.
Amanda Balloway

A crime was committed against Canada yesterday! The judges are guilty and should face the consequences!

Short of pulling this humiliating sport right out of the Olympics, I say they should have the medals presentations first, then have a show we can all watch without being insulted beyond belief. Human integrity is at stake here, and it's failing. Everything the Olympics stands for is being criminally abused. How did it ever get this far? To me, Jamie and David are Gold Medalists, without a doubt. I will always look at them with that pride.
Jim Reader
Aldersyde, AB

Toller Cranston...denied gold... Elvis Stojko...denied gold... Salé and Pelletier...denied gold... Why should we expect anything different?
Glenn Baigent, PhD

Should judging in figure skating be examined? Most certainly. I have not watched a skating competition in over a decade because of the intense frustration it causes me.. It started with the bias against Toller Cranston and finally I just gave up on it. Others will too if something is not done.
Leonard Stanley

Wow, what an upset in pairs skating. It just goes to show that it's not always the better team that wins, is which team has more judges in their pockets. I personally think block judging was a factor in this final. The judges will make excuses like "they know what they are doing", or "they know what to look for in a competition". Unfortunately, so do I. I look for a performance that was flawless, where no mistake was made, and it was energetic. The Canadian team was all that and more. The Russians were good but made mistakes, yet they win gold. I thought the Olympics was about healthy competition to showcase the best in the world. Apparently I was wrong.
Vonnel Chan

Why do we bother to send our fine young athletes to these farce events, like pairs and dance skating, where they are robbed and humiliated by a corrupt judging system?
Lorne Finlayson

I think the time has come to either move away from judging in such events as figure skating or to drop it from the Olympics. The possibility to "cook" the results is contrary to the spirit of the Olympics. We may be finally able to remove the role of drugs from performance, so maybe the time has come to remove that other currency of modern life---who you know and for what price do you sell your vote. If it can't be done, drop the event or maybe even boycott it. Canada successfully altered the picture when only half the world was playing by "amateur only" rules. Let's roll on this.
Len Proctor

The results of pairs skating last night left me feeling ill at the injustice levied against Sale and Pelletier. Their skate was so obviously superior that I didn't think there could be any question of gold, but rigged judging seems to have invaded pairs now, in addition to dance. I hope Canadian Olympic team leaders fight for a new judging system. I hope they are able to rally support from other nations interested in fair competition. And I hope current IOC president Rogge has the courage and will to put an end the corrupt politicking of block voting, which runs so contrary to the Olympic spirit. And if he doesn't, well, he might consider asking Dick Pound for help…
Melanie Mooy

It is political. I watched CBC and NBC to see if both commentaries from the pairs skating was consistent. It is a black mark on the sport when one pair makes a number of mistakes and end up with the gold. I believe that the judges that voted the Canadians the silver were in a coalition to ensure the Russians won the gold.
S. Stolz

A travesty!!! The judging for figure skating gets worse every time I see an Olympics, and I've seen a lot of them! My entire family was shocked that the gold medal was not awarded to the Canadians! This is the type of thing that kills the Olympic spirit and drives a stake in the heart of good sport! Investigate? Yes! Then castigate.
Keith Dunford
Nazareth, PA, USA
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