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Wednesday, February 27, 2002
Status of Sale, Pelletier for next year unclear

Associated Press

GLOUCESTER, Ontario -- Olympic co-gold medalists Jamie Sale and David Pelletier of Canada have withdrawn from the World Figure Skating Championships and may not compete next year, Skate Canada announced Wednesday.

Sale and Pelletier lacked the time to prepare for another major competition after the "events of the last two weeks," when they were the focus of a scandal in Olympic judging.

The Canadians finished second in the pairs competition to Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze of Russia, but the revelation that one judge admitted being pressured about voting caused Olympic officials to award Sale and Pelletier a second set of gold medals.

A special medals ceremony with the two teams was held days after the competition, with the Russians keeping their gold medals.

"Sale and Pelletier are disappointed they will not compete but feel they have not had the opportunity to train properly given the events of the last two weeks," said the Skate Canada statement announcing their withdrawal from the March 18-24 world championships in Nagano, Japan.

"They have not decided at this point in time whether they will remain eligible for next year's events," the statement said.

Valerie Marcoux and Bruno Marcotte would take their place in Nagano, Skate Canada said.

The Olympic controversy made Sale and Pelletier celebrities in North America, with appearances on the Tonight Show, CNN, Entertainment Tonight, and on the covers of Newsweek and Time magazines.