The hysterics initiated by a pair of Canadian figure skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier at the Olympics in Salt Lake City has finally produced an effect on the International Skating Union and International Olympic Committee. The Canadian pair has got a gold medal as well. At that the Russian pair of Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze are still the Olympic champions.
The scandal has affected the spirit of the Olympic Games. Indeed, now representatives of some countries may demand for the results to be reviewed, if the results are not desirable enough. What would be the USA’s reaction, if the Russian pair won the silver and demanded for the review of the results? But if it were an American pair, who won the gold in the event, would George Bush support the demand of the Canadian pair then? In the present situation the US president welcomed the awarding of the Canadian pair with the gold medal.
The answers to the questions are rather predictable: there would be no resonance, the scandal would be hushed up. From a humane point of view the claims of the Canadian pair can be understood: the skaters think about their future, as the Olympic gold medal provides for higher fees in the professional sport. But the actual value of such medals, as has been given to the Canadian pair, can be called into question. Unbiased observers and fans of figure skating will consider only Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze the Olympic champions. The Russian pair is better than the Canadian one from any point of view. The Canadians were to have been happy with the silver medal. The mark given by French arbiter Marie-Reine Le Gougne was the decisive one, but even when the arbiter was removed and her decision cancelled, the number of voices in support of the Russian and Canadian pairs was equal – 4 to 4. According to the sports regulations, the marks given to skaters for the short program are to be the key ones under such disputable conditions. The marks given to the Russian pair for the short program were higher than of the Canadian pair – 7:2.
By the way, despite the pressure during the scandal, the Russian skaters behaved with dignity. And when IOC informed about the decision to award the Canadian pair with the gold as well, the Russian skaters said, they considered the rivals “to be excellent athletes” and were happy that “the Canadian pair got the gold”. Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze may serve an example of dignity and ability to lose with dignity for the Canadian pair. So, if Canada need medals earned this very way, they have got it.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
In the photo: Russian skaters Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze with the coach
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/02/16/37191.html