Tuesday, February 12, 2002
Canadians outraged by judges' decision
TORONTO -- Canadians shed tears and expressed outrage at a
judging decision that gave the pairs gold medal to Russian skaters
and left Jamie Sale and David Pelletier with silver at the
"Robbed! Flawless Skate Not Enough to Win Gold" read the
headline of Tuesday's Ottawa Sun.
"Canucks golden fleeced" blared the Toronto Star.
TV newscasts led with the judging controversy from Monday
night's competition at the Salt Lake City Winter Games that gave
the win to Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze of Russia.
"Such a shame. Such a sham," wrote Toronto Star columnist
Rosie Di Manno.
In Pelletier's home town of Sayabec, Quebec, the mayor wants to
organize a protest and have flags along the Lower St. Lawrence
River fly their flags at half staff.
At Martin Brodeur Arena in Montreal, where Sale and Pelletier
trained until their move to Edmonton, Alberta last summer, Sandy
Poire, a 14-year-old skater, said she was initially devastated by
"I was so mad, I cried," Poire said.
Caroline Pellitier, a young figure skater in Montreal, said she
has second thoughts about her sport.
"Why should I skate now? In a big competition I'm not going to
be judged on my performance," Pellitier told Canada's national
Daniel Bellitier, a figure skating instructor, didn't know what
to tell his students.
"What am I going to tell them? 'No, no, that's OK?' No, it's
not OK. There's something wrong there," he said.
The Russian, Chinese, French, Polish and Ukrainian judges gave
the nod to Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze. The American, Canadian,
German and Japanese judges had the Canadians first.
When the marks flashed and the boos rained down Monday night,
Pelletier buried his face in his hands and Sale's eyes filled with
Canada's chef de mission Sally Rehorick, a member of Skate
Canada and a longtime skating judge, told Canada's public
broadcaster she greeted the judges' decision with "total
"I could not believe it," she said. "I was totally in shock.
"After Jamie and David skated, of course I was thrilled and I
thought it's not even a difficult call to make. It's an easy
decision to make.
"When it flashed up that it was second, it was a kick to the
stomach. There's no doubt about it, it was the wrong decision,"
Rehorick said Canada's Olympic delegation is calling for an
investigation. The International Skating Union, which oversees the
sport, says it will conduct an "internal assessment."