Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Figure skating funny business

    When someone writes the definitive book on scandals in sport, let them not get so caught up in steroids, the Black Sox, Jake LaMotta, point shaving in basketball and Italian football match fixing that they overlook that most improbable of corrupt sports: figure skating. 
    The flagrant chicanery that cost Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir the ice dancing gold medal in Sochi could be chalked up to poor but honest judging were there not ample circumstantial evidence and precedent to suggest otherwise.  We went down this dirt road in 2002, when Canada's Jamie Sale and David Pelletier were belatedly awarded gold medals after a conspiracy was exposed involving the Russian and French judges.  Reports of similar backroom shenanigans between the Russians and the Americans surfaced in Sochi prior the ice dancing competition, and appeared to be borne out when - in the eyes of virtually all the experts except the judges - Virtue and Moir were blatantly jobbed.  The International Olympic Committee, which refused to investigate before the competition, now faces a choice of at least paying lip service to the conspiracy allegations or having its credibility equated to that of professional wrestling. 
   Actually, that's not fair to pro wrestling, where at least when the fix is in, everyone is in on the fix.

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