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Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006

Responses, Part 2
What do you think about the ISU's decision to award Salé and Pelletier gold medals on Friday? Will this help figure skating's image?

Here are responses to the above question:

I think it's about time the gold was awarded to Sale and fact, it should have been handed down a little sooner. They clearly deserved it skating a clean and perfect routine that no other could come close to match. Although justice has been served, the injustice, the travesty comes from the Russians being allowed to keep their gold. there's a couple of silver medals up for grabs!!! Figure skating and all the controversy that surrounds it will never really go away but the fact that a wrong has been made right will help the image only until the next time when injustice will be served again and again and again.
Mirella Scalise

I don't think the issue is about gold or silver, it is about how this sport - if it really is a sport - is judged and, more important: who are the judges. If there are dishonest judges, they should be punished, but re-awarding medals is not wise, I think. Shouldn't they then re-run the whole competition...who is to say that other teams got fair judgment? There is also always the cultural difference which doesn't make on wrong or the other right...some like opera and some like musicals. If artistry is to be part of a sport then all kinds of artistry, and all kinds of opinions about them, must be tolerated. There is nothing we can do about changing a culture or what it appreciates.

As an American, I once again see Canada act with class and grace. In doing so, you allowed the IOC time to 'do the right thing'. To my surprise, they did! Congratulations to your skaters and all your citizens. Please continue to remember that the Russian pair did nothing wrong. It might be nice to invite them to a 'post Olympic's category' to show them how you feel. I'm sure it would mean a lot to them. And, it would give the rest of the world a good look at Canada.

I think it is a start, but there is so much more that needs to be done to salvage the sport. First the executive of the ISU needs to convene and emergency meeting to find a remedy to the judging issues OR the skaters should unite and create a new organization. Not withstanding the ISU long standing relationship with the sport, or their best intentions, it has not effectively represented the sport. It is time for a change.

I think that it will help figure skating's image...they have finally done what was right...there was obvious cheating in the judging and they have decided to give Sale and Pelletier the Gold that they deserved!
Robin Wray

This was a wonderful decision that makes me proud to me a Canadian. The stress level at the Olympics is high enough let alone having to worry about whether or not you will be cheated out of a metal for political reasons. I applaud Jamie and David for holding up as well as they did throughout the whole metal ceremony and, the last few days. You guys are the best and if you ever need a place to stay in San Francisco, please drop me a line! From one former figure skater to the best in the world, congratulations!

This is International Damage Control! Would the decision to give Canada Gold been made, if it were not for the "huge" world media attention? Figure Skating needs a transparent way of judging, I would hope these crooks get the message!
Tom Waselnuk

On Tuesday morning I had hoped that the next Canadian skater would simply stage a sit-in protest, because the spectacle of the judging was so outrageous. This outrage and the ensuing outcry over the injustice has caused the ISU and IOC to respond, apparently for the first time at an Olympic competition. The spirit of the Olympics are predicated on fair play, it does not brook pre-judging. Sale and Pelletier may have helped to restore the figure skating image to that ideal. It was certainly not the ISU which did not prevent such a cabal to make deals.
Ralph Keesickquayash

The unrelenting outrage felt by everyone was as much a reaction to years of bias and frustrating behavior by the judges as it was to a clearly unjust single event. The youngsters who pour their hearts into the sport deserve better than this. Now is the time to clean up the sport!
Robert Martineau

No way. If the athlete cheats, they get stripped of the medal. When the judges cheat, the original results stand? So for the next 40 years, block judging will continue to award medals to those who do not deserve them, then the IOC or ISU will award additional gold medals to the deserving skaters after the competition? J and D totally deserve the gold, the Russians do not. Hey, next Olympics I will attempt an octuple lutz, do a faceplant, but get the gold because I tried a harder routine, despite screwing it up? Sorry it's WWF on skates.

The ISU has a lot of work to do before I believe that figure skating competitions are fairly judged.
Richard Jackson

The tragedy here is the victims of this scandal. The skaters! The Russian pairs who were first awarded the gold only to have it taken away because of this scandal. The Canadian pairs who were given the silver and then awarded the gold. The gold medal has been tarnished as well as figure skating. Any judge caught cheating should be made an example of banned permanently! The French Ice Federation also deserves to take some of the blame also.
Gregory A Brain

I'll suspend judgment until the competition is over, but that's sheer optimism. The judges were caught red-handed in the Pairs event and the ISU really had no choice but to award a second set of gold medals. I suspect that the deals and the agreements have so long been a part of the skating world that it will take more than these games to eradicate them. Nah -- things will go on the way they always have, except that Bourne & Kraatz will probably be rated either fourth or sixth, or anything except fifth. The ISU will then use that as proof that there never were any deals. What? Me cynical?
Marion Burt

Clearly there is more than one judge involved in this. Without a means of removing the political pressures applied to the judges, and exposure of all involved, the ranking of competitors in this "sport" will be suspect. Subjectively judged Olympic events will always be controversial; how can you be sure that those judging are not being pressured (or just biased), into casting wrong scores? I prefer sports were clear winners are easily determined by the fans.

I am happy to see that some justice has been done and that Jamie and David have finally been awarded the gold medal they deserved. However I feel figure skating judging has a long way to go to clean up the image that has finally been proven is tainted not by all but by some. We as Canadians are very proud of David and Jamie and the way they have conducted themselves over the last few long difficult days. Congratulations
Bev. Penfold

As satisfying as it is to see justice served, it does not resolve the issue of human nature and the flawed nature of the judging process. Human beings make errors of judgment, and errors in skating. As long as people are involved in skating and the judging process, this risk will be forever present. Unfortunately the art of skating, be it pairs or dance, is too complex to judge merely on technical merit - it is truly art - and art is subjective. There is no solution to this that would leave the beauty intact while removing the subjective nature of the art form. So all we can do is put in as many safeguards as possible and hope for the best, and trust the finer qualities of human nature. When an injustice is done, an inquiry follows and assuming fairness prevails - justice will be done (as it appears to be done here). Skating in its many forms should continue at the games as it clearly brings out the best (and the worst) in us. We as humans just have to get better at ignoring the politics and focus more on the moment.
Lorne Mackenzie
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