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Saturday, February 16, 2002
Updated: February 17, 7:00 PM ET
Pair will get medals 4 days earlier than expected

Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY -- Jamie Sale and David Pelletier got their gold medals in pairs skating Sunday night, and their Russian co-champions took part in the ceremony.

The silver medals originally awarded to the Canadians, meanwhile, have been returned "to the coffers of the IOC," International Olympic Committee director general Francois Carrard said Saturday.

The special medal ceremony, which had been tentatively set for Thursday night, instead was held after the original dance program in the Salt Lake Ice Center, the IOC said. No other medal ceremonies are scheduled in figure skating Sunday.

"We have said from Day 1 we are acting on behalf of the athletes, and that this matter should be resolved quickly," Carrard said. "That is the only reason."

He said NBC was involved "not at all" in the decision, which places the medal presentation in prime time on what is an otherwise light night at the Olympics.

"This was entirely our call," he said.

Carrard said details remained to be worked out.

Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze will take part, with both the Russian and Canadian anthems played, according to Russian Olympic Committee official Sasha Rattner.

Rattner said Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze would participate "since it is an official medal ceremony." He also said his committee was unconcerned with the order in which the anthems are played.

It was not known if bronze medalists Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo of China would attend the ceremony.

The IOC agreed Friday to allow the Canadians to share first place with Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze at the request of the International Skating Union. The union said a French judge had voted for the Russians under pressure from her national federation.

ISU president Ottavio Cinquanta said Friday that he thought the duplicate medal would be awarded Feb. 21, the last day of figure skating competition. But in that case, the presentation to Sale and Pelletier would have shared the spotlight with the medals ceremony for women's skating, the sport's showcase event.

The silver medal from pairs will remain vacant in the records of the games. Carrard said he did not know what would happen with the returned medals.