SOCHI, Russia – United States and Canadian figure skating officials on Saturday dismissed reports of a possible judging fix to ensure that Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White would win the Olympic ice dancing gold.
French magazine L’Equipe, citing an unnamed Russian source, reported that a deal had been struck between the United States and Russia to ensure that the Americans would take the title ahead of Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada.
It claimed that the United States would support the Olympic hosts in the new team event, while in turn the Russians would ensure world champions Davis and White would beat Virtue and Moir in the individual.
Russia were on track for gold in the team event on Saturday with 47 points, with Canada in second on 41 and the United States a further seven points behind in third.
“Comments made in a L’Equipe story are categorically false,” US Figure Skating said in a statement.
“There is no ‘help’ between countries. We have no further response to rumors, anonymous sources or conjecture.”
And Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada’s high performance director, said he did not see how it was possible.
“I was involved as an official in the system, and I don’t see how that is possible,” former figure skater Slipchuk, 47, told AFP.
“We were made aware about that article today. We’re focused on what the skaters do on the ice.
“The decision will be made on how they perform. We’re on the verge of finishing the first team event and want to focus on that. We haven’t had any concern about any result this past week.”
There has been an ongoing rivalry between the two couples who train together under Russian coach Marina Zoueva in Detroit going back to their junior skating days.
Two-time world champions Virtue and Moir were runners-up to the Americans at both the world championships last year and the Grand Prix Final in December.
Meanwhile, Olympic silver medallists Davis and White scored highest in Saturday’s short dance in the team event with 75.98 points, with Virtue and Moir second with 72.98.
The current scoring system was introduced after the 2002 Olympic judging scandal when a French judge claimed she had been pressured to vote for a Russian pairs team over Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier.
The Canadians were later awarded a second gold medal.
The new team event concludes in Sochi on Sunday, with ice dancing to be held on February 16-17. – Rappler.com